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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.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6692839 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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