Tags: medicare | doctors | tests | ordered

Doctors Order More Tests to Boost Revenues

By    |   Monday, 02 February 2015 04:23 PM

Snowbirds, take note: Doctors in Florida order far more tests on retirees than do doctors in other states.

That’s the key finding of a new analysis, The New York Times reports.
Medical testing is big business in the U.S., and prices vary widely by region of the country. Medicare strictly regulates the price of tests and procedures, but doctors who treat seniors can significantly boost their office revenues by expanding the volume of such services and ordering more tests — which can be costly but unnecessary.
In some areas where many retirees live, the trend is common, according to researchers from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice who looked at the number of tests and imaging studies received by Medicare patients in the last two years of life.

The analysis showed, for instance, that more than twice the number of nuclear stress tests, echocardiograms, and vascular ultrasounds were ordered per Medicare beneficiary in doctor’s offices in Florida than in Massachusetts.
In fact, the number of tests ordered by Florida physicians was far above the national average, said Elliott Fisher, M.D., director of the Dartmouth Institute. Other areas that showed high rates of testing and imaging in the study included Arizona, California, southern Nevada, and South Texas — all also popular for sun-seeking retirees; New Jersey and New York City also scored high, too.
Those high numbers cannot be explained by the presence of sicker patients, better outcomes or a desire by patients there for more treatment, said Dr. Fisher.
“It’s mostly based on how much doctors do in a system where you make more by doing more,” he said. “Financial incentives and more entrepreneurial doctors are very important to what we’re seeing.”

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Doctors in Florida order far more tests on retirees to boost office revenues than do doctors in other states, a new analysis shows.
medicare, doctors, tests, ordered
Monday, 02 February 2015 04:23 PM
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