Variation in Practice Patterns and Reimbursements Between Female and Male Urologists for Medicare Beneficiaries.
ABSTRACT: Importance:Previous assessments of practice patterns and reimbursements for female urologists relied on surveys or board certification logs. A current evaluation of the geographic distribution and practice patterns by female urologists would reveal contemporary patterns of access for Medicare beneficiaries. Objective:To characterize the variation in practice patterns and reimbursements by urologist sex and the regional deficiencies in care provided by female urologists. Design, Setting, and Participants:This population-based cohort study used the publicly available Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Provider Payment database to evaluate payments for US urologists. The cohort (n = 8665) included urologists who provided and were paid for 11 or more services to Medicare beneficiaries in 2016. Data collection and analysis were performed from October 3, 2018, through June 19, 2019. Main Outcomes and Measures:Proportion of female-specific services, payments per beneficiary, and payments per work relative value unit (wRVU) by urologist sex were assessed. Density of female urologists across hospital markets was also identified. Results:Among the 8665 urologists who received payments in 2016, 7944 (91.7%) were men and 721 (8.3%) were women. Female urologists, compared with male urologists, saw a lower proportion of patients with cancer (mean [SD], 16.3% [9.2%] vs 22.7% [8.8%]; P < .001) and a greater proportion of female Medicare beneficiaries (mean [SD], 52.8% [23.2%] vs 24.4% [10.3%]; P < .001). Female urologists generated a greater proportion of wRVU from urodynamics (median [IQR], 2.88% [1.26%-4.84%] vs 1.07% [0.31%-2.26%]; P < .001) and gynecological operations (median [IQR], 0.68% [0.45%-1.07%] vs 0.41% [0.20%-0.81%]; P < .001) than male urologists. In addition, female urologists, compared with their male counterparts, received lower median payments per beneficiary seen ($70.12 [interquartile range (IQR), $60.00-$84.81] vs $72.37 [IQR, $59.63-$89.29]; P = .03) and lower payments per wRVU ($58.25 [IQR, $48.39-65.26] vs $60.04 [IQR, $51.93-$67.88]; P < .001). One-third (103 [33.7%]) of 306 hospital referral regions had 0 female urologists, and 80 (26.1%) had only 1 female urologist. Conclusions and Relevance:Female urologists were more likely to provide care for female Medicare beneficiaries, to receive lower payments per wRVU generated and beneficiaries seen, and to be difficult to access in certain geographic areas; these findings have policy-related implications and highlight the regional deficiencies in urological care and reimbursement discrepancies according to urologist sex.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To understand the current role of urologists in Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and the organizational characteristics of ACOs with participating urologists. MATERIALS AND METHODS:Using 2012-2013 Medicare data and the National Provider Identifier Database, we classified each urologist in the U.S. and Puerto Rico as either an MSSP ACO participant or nonparticipating provider. We then examined the distribution of ACO-participating urologists across the U.S. and among the first 220 MSSP ACOs. We also compared the characteristics of ACOs with and without participating urologists. RESULTS:Among 11,084 identified urologists, 1118 (10%) were MSSP ACO participants. ACO-participating urologists practiced more frequently in the Northeast and Midwest (P ?< ?.001), and were more commonly female (10% vs 8%, P?=?.003). At an organizational level, only 110 (50%) of the initial MSSP ACOs included at least one urologist; among this group, the number of participating urologists ranged from 1 to 55. ACOs with one or more participating urologist were larger organizations, with respect to both the number of assigned beneficiaries and the number of providers per 1000 beneficiaries (P? < ?.001 for each comparison). The patient populations served by ACOs with and without urologists were similar (P ?> ?.05 for each comparison). CONCLUSION:A modest percentage of urologists participate in MSSP ACOs, although many of these organizations still lack any formal involvement by urological surgeons. Without such participation, improving the coordination, quality, and cost of urologic care for Medicare beneficiaries may be more challenging.
Project description:Up-front treatment of older men with low-risk prostate cancer can cause morbidity without clear survival benefit; however, most such patients receive treatment instead of observation. The impact of physicians on the management approach is uncertain.To determine the impact of physicians on the management of low-risk prostate cancer with up-front treatment vs observation.Retrospective cohort of men 66 years and older with low-risk prostate cancer diagnosed from 2006 through 2009. Patient and tumor characteristics were obtained from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results cancer registries. The diagnosing urologist, consulting radiation oncologist, cancer-directed therapy, and comorbid medical conditions were determined from linked Medicare claims. Physician characteristics were obtained from the American Medical Association Physician Masterfile. Mixed-effects models were used to evaluate management variation and factors associated with observation.No cancer-directed therapy within 12 months of diagnosis (observation).A total of 2145 urologists diagnosed low-risk prostate cancer in 12,068 men, of whom 80.1% received treatment and 19.9% were observed. The case-adjusted rate of observation varied widely across urologists, ranging from 4.5% to 64.2% of patients. The diagnosing urologist accounted for 16.1% of the variation in up-front treatment vs observation, whereas patient and tumor characteristics accounted for 7.9% of this variation. After adjustment for patient and tumor characteristics, urologists who treat non-low-risk prostate cancer (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.71 [95% CI, 0.55-0.92]; P =?.01) and graduated in earlier decades (P =?.004) were less likely to manage low-risk disease with observation. Treated patients were more likely to undergo prostatectomy (aOR, 1.71 [95% CI, 1.45-2.01]; P <?.001), cryotherapy (aOR, 28.2 [95% CI, 19.5-40.9]; P <?.001), brachytherapy (aOR, 3.41 [95% CI, 2.96-3.93]; P <?.001), or external-beam radiotherapy (aOR, 1.31 [95% CI, 1.08-1.58]; P =?.005) if their urologist billed for that treatment. Case-adjusted rates of observation also varied across consulting radiation oncologists, ranging from 2.2% to 46.8% of patients.Rates of management of low-risk prostate cancer with observation varied widely across urologists and radiation oncologists. Patients whose diagnosis was made by urologists who treated prostate cancer were more likely to receive up-front treatment and, when treated, more likely to receive a treatment that their urologist performed. Public reporting of physicians' cancer management profiles would enable informed selection of physicians to diagnose and manage prostate cancer.
Project description:Patients who receive surgery from high-volume surgeons tend to have better outcomes. Black patients, however, are less likely to receive surgery from high-volume surgeons.Among men with localized prostate cancer, we examined whether disparities in use of high-volume urologists resulted from racial differences in patients being diagnosed by high-volume urologists and/or changing to high-volume urologists for surgery.Retrospective cohort study from Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare data.A total of 26,058 black and white men in Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare diagnosed with localized prostate cancer from 1995 to 2005 that underwent prostatectomy. Patients were linked to their diagnosing urologist and a treating urologist (who performed the surgery).Diagnosis and receipt of prostatectomy by a high-volume urologist, and changing between diagnosing and treating urologistAfter adjustment for confounders, black men were as likely as white men to be diagnosed by a high-volume urologist; however, they were significantly less likely than white men to be treated by a high-volume urologist [odds ratio 0.76; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.67-0.87]. For men diagnosed by a low-volume urologist, 46.0% changed urologists for their surgery. Black men were significantly less likely to change to a high-volume urologist (relative risk ratio 0.61; 95% CI, 0.47-0.79). Racial differences appeared to reflect black and white patients being diagnosed by different urologists and having different rates of changing after being diagnosed by the same urologists.Lower rates of changing to high-volume urologists for surgery among black men contribute to racial disparities in treatment by high-volume surgeons.
Project description:<h4>Objectives</h4>Determining appropriate capitated payments has important access implications for dual-eligible Medicare Advantage (MA) members. In 2017, MA plans began receiving higher capitated payments for beneficiaries with full vs partial Medicaid when payments started being risk adjusted for level of Medicaid benefits instead of any Medicaid participation. This approach could favor MA plans in states with more generous Medicaid programs where more beneficiaries qualify for full Medicaid and thus a higher capitated payment. To understand this issue, we examined adjusted Medicare spending for dual-eligible beneficiaries across states with differing Medicaid eligibility criteria.<h4>Study design</h4>Retrospective analysis of 2007-2015 traditional Medicare data for dual-eligible beneficiaries 65 years and older.<h4>Methods</h4>We compared predicted per-beneficiary spending levels after adjusting for any Medicaid participation and for level of Medicaid benefits across states with varying Medicaid eligibility requirements.<h4>Results</h4>States with the most generous Medicaid requirements had more dual-eligible beneficiaries with full Medicaid compared with the most restrictive states (median, 82% vs 55%). Nationally, Medicare spending levels were 1.3 times greater for full vs partial Medicaid participants (range across states, 0.8-1.7). When per-beneficiary spending was adjusted for level of Medicaid benefits, rather than any Medicaid participation, states with more generous Medicaid eligibility had larger gains in predicted spending per dual-eligible beneficiary than states with less generous Medicaid coverage (1.7% vs 1.3% increase).<h4>Conclusions</h4>Distinguishing between partial and full Medicaid in MA payments may disproportionately increase MA payments in states that have more full Medicaid beneficiaries due to more generous Medicaid eligibility.
Project description:<h4>Importance</h4>Following the US Food and Drug Administration approval for laparoscopic gastric band surgery in 2001, as many as 96 000 devices have been placed annually. The reported rates of reoperation range from 4% to 60% in short-term studies; however, to our knowledge, few long-term population-level data on outcomes or expenditures are known.<h4>Objective</h4>To describe the rate of device-related reoperations occurring after laparoscopic gastric band surgery as well as the associated payments in a longitudinal national cohort.<h4>Design, settings, and participants</h4>This retrospective review of 25 042 Medicare beneficiaries who underwent gastric band placement between 2006 and 2013 identifies gastric band-related reoperations, including device removal, device replacement, or revision to a different bariatric procedure (eg, a gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy). The rates of reoperation were risk adjusted using a multivariable logistic regression model that included patient age, sex, race/ethnicity, Elixhauser comorbidities, and the year that the operation was performed.<h4>Main outcomes and measures</h4>Rate of device-related reoperation nationally and across individual hospital referral regions. Thirty-day total episode Medicare payments to hospitals for the index operation and any subsequent reoperations.<h4>Results</h4>Of the 25 042 patients who underwent gastric band placement, 20 687 (82.61%) were white, 18 143 (72.45%) were women, and the mean age was 57.56 years. Patients (mean age, 57.5; 76.2% women) requiring reoperation had lower rates of hypertension (64.9% vs 73.4%; P < .001) and diabetes (40.4% vs 44.6%; P < .001) and were more likely to have their index operation at a for-profit hospital (34.6% vs 22.0%; P < .001). With an average of 4.5-year follow-up, 4636 patients (18.5%) underwent 17 539 reoperations (an average of 3.8 procedures/patient). Hospital referral regions demonstrated a 2.9-fold variation in risk- and reliability-adjusted rates of reoperation (lower quartile average, 13.3%; upper quartile average, 39.1%). During the study period, Medicare paid $470 million for laparoscopic gastric band associated procedures, of which $224 million (47.6%) of the payments were for reoperations. From 2006 to 2013, the proportion of payments from Medicare for reoperations increased from 16.4% to 77.3% of their annual spending on the gastric band device.<h4>Conclusions and relevance</h4>Among Medicare beneficiaries undergoing gastric band surgery, device-related reoperation was common, costly, and varied widely across hospital referral regions. These findings suggest that payers should reconsider their coverage of the gastric band device.
Project description:<h4>Backgrounds</h4>The number of practicing female urologists is rising. The aim of this study is to evaluate the acceptance of female urologists by male patients and their partners.<h4>Methods</h4>Men who underwent a prostate MRI or a prostate biopsy between January and December 2018 and their partners, were sent questionnaires prior to the examination. Two types of questionnaires were used. One questionnaire asked "I want to be seen by: (I) a male urologist or (II) a female urologist or (III) no preference" (Group<sub>np</sub>), the other questionnaire only offered two possible answers: "I want to be seen by: (I) a male urologist or (II) a female urologist" (Group<sub>m,f</sub>). All other questions were on prostate MRI and prostate biopsies.<h4>Results</h4>Overall, 377 questionnaires were sent to patients. One hundred and ninety-six questionnaires (52.0%) were returned. In Group<sub>np</sub>, 34.7% wanted to be seen by a male urologist, 60.8% of patients chose "no preference". The answers of the patients' female partners in Group<sub>np</sub> did not differ statistically significant (57.3% chose "no preference", 0% chose a female urologist). In Group<sub>m,f</sub>, 54.5% of patients preferred a male urologist, one patient wanted to be seen by a female urologist, 44.3% did not answer the question. In Group<sub>m,f</sub>, there was no statistically significant difference in preference in regard to the doctor's gender between the patients and their female partners (57% of partners wanted a male urologist, 0% wanted a female urologist).<h4>Conclusions</h4>A large number of patients with prostate disease and their partners prefer male urologists rather than female urologists.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:To examine the effects of Medicare's revised ambulatory surgery center (ASC) payment schedule on overall payments for outpatient surgery. DATA SOURCES:Twenty percent sample of national Medicare beneficiaries. STUDY DESIGN:We conducted a pre-post study of Medicare beneficiaries who underwent outpatient surgery in a hospital outpatient department (HOPD), ASC, or physician office between 2004 and 2011. Specifically, we used multivariable regression to compare temporal trends in outpatient surgery before and after implementation of Medicare's revised payment schedule in 2008, which reduced ASC facility payments to roughly two-thirds that of HOPDs. Our outcome measures included overall Medicare payments, utilization rates, per beneficiary spending, and average episode payments for outpatient surgery. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Between the last quarters of 2007 and 2008, overall Medicare payments for outpatient surgery grew by $334 million-an amount nearly three times higher than would have been expected without the policy change (p < .001 for the difference). While utilization rates of outpatient surgery were attenuated, per beneficiary spending and average surgical episode payments increased by 10.4 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively, over the same period. By the end of 2011, Medicare payments for outpatient surgery reached $5.1 billion. Without the policy change, they would have totaled only $4.1 billion. CONCLUSIONS:Despite lessening demand, reduced ASC facility payments did not curb spending for outpatient surgery. In fact, overall payments actually increased following the policy change, driven by higher average episode payments.
Project description:Importance:Hospitalizations for durable left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implants are expensive and increasingly common. Insights into center-level variation in Medicare spending for these hospitalizations are needed to inform value improvement efforts. Objective:To examine center-level variation in Medicare spending for durable LVAD implant hospitalizations and its association with clinical outcomes. Design, Setting, and Participants:Retrospective cohort study of linked Medicare administrative claims and Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support (INTERMACS) clinical data comprising 106 centers in the United States providing durable LVAD implant. Centers were grouped into quartiles based on the mean price-standardized Medicare spending of their patients. The study included Medicare beneficiaries receiving primary durable LVAD implant between January 2008 and December 2014. Data were analyzed between November 2017 and October 2018. Main Outcomes and Measures:Price-standardized Medicare payments and clinical outcomes. Overall and component (facility diagnosis-related group payments, outlier payments, physician services) payments and clinical outcomes (postimplant length of stay and adverse events) were compared across payment quartiles. Results:The study sample included 4442 hospitalized patients, with mean (SD) age of 63.0 (10.8) years, 18.7% female, 27.2% nonwhite, and 6.1% Hispanic ethnicity. Among 4442 hospitalizations, the mean (SD) price-standardized Medicare payment was $176 825 ($60 286) and ranged from $122 953 to $271 472 across 106 centers. The difference in price-standardized payments between lowest and highest spending quartiles was $55 446 ($152 714 vs $208 160; 36%; P < .001), with outlier payments making up most of the difference ($42 742; 77%), followed by DRG ($6929; 13%) and physician services ($5774; 10%). After risk standardization, there was a modest decline in the difference in payments between quartiles ($53 221; 35%), with outlier payments accounting for a larger proportion of the difference (84%). After adjusting for patient characteristics, higher price-standardized payment quartiles were associated with longer postimplant length of stay but were not associated with any adverse events. Conclusions and Relevance:Medicare payments for durable LVAD implant hospitalizations vary widely across centers; this was not well explained by prices or case mix. While associated with longer postimplant length of stay, increased spending was not associated with adverse events. As the supply and demand for durable LVAD therapy continues to rise, identifying opportunities to reduce variation in spending from both explained and unexplained sources will ensure high-value use.
Project description:Importance:As prospective payment transitions to bundled reimbursement, many US hospitals are implementing protocols to shorten hospitalization after major surgery. These efforts could have unintended consequences and increase overall surgical episode spending if they induce more frequent postdischarge care use or readmissions. Objective:To evaluate the association between early postoperative discharge practices and overall surgical episode spending and expenditures for postdischarge care use and readmissions. Design, Setting, and Participants:This investigation was a cross-sectional cohort study of Medicare beneficiaries undergoing colectomy (189?229 patients at 1876 hospitals), coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) (218?940 patients at 1056 hospitals), or total hip replacement (THR) (231?774 patients at 1831 hospitals) between January 1, 2009, and June 30, 2012. The dates of the analysis were September 1, 2015, to May 31, 2016. Associations between surgical episode payments and hospitals' length of stay (LOS) mode were evaluated among a risk and postoperative complication-matched cohort of patients without major postoperative complications. To further control for potential differences between hospitals, a within-hospital comparison was also performed evaluating the change in hospitals' mean surgical episode payments according to their change in LOS mode during the study period. Exposure:Undergoing surgery in a hospital with short vs long postoperative hospitalization practices, characterized according to LOS mode, a measure least sensitive to postoperative outliers. Main Outcomes and Measures:Risk-adjusted, price-standardized, 90-day overall surgical episode payments and their components, including index, outlier, readmission, physician services, and postdischarge care. Results:A total of 639?943 Medicare beneficiaries were included in the study. Total surgical episode payments for risk and postoperative complication-matched patients were significantly lower among hospitals with lowest vs highest LOS mode ($26?482 vs $29?250 for colectomy, $44?777 vs $47?675 for CABG, and $24?553 vs $27?927 for THR; P?<?.001 for all). Shortest LOS hospitals did not exhibit a compensatory increase in payments for postdischarge care use ($4011 vs $5083 for colectomy, P?<?.001; $6015 vs $6355 for CABG, P?=?.14; and $7132 vs $9552 for THR, P?<?.001) or readmissions ($2606 vs $2887 for colectomy, P?=?.16; $3175 vs $3064 for CABG, P?=?.67; and $1373 vs $1514 for THR, P?=?.93). Hospitals that exhibited the greatest decreases in LOS mode had the highest reductions in surgical episode payments during the study period. Conclusions and Relevance:Early routine postoperative discharge after major inpatient surgery is associated with lower total surgical episode payments. There is no evidence that savings from shorter postsurgical hospitalization are offset by higher postdischarge care spending. Therefore, accelerated postoperative care protocols appear well aligned with the goals of bundled payment initiatives for surgical episodes.