Friday, November 9, 2012
QD: News Every Day--New physicians spend more than experienced ones
Physicians who are new to practice have higher cost profiles than more experienced physicians, according to a new study.
Researchers analyzed physician cost profiles from health care plans in Massachusetts to see if any physician characteristics were associated with higher costs. Data from 12,116 physicians were included. A total of 15.9% of the sample had fewer than 10 years of experience, while 7.5% had more than 40 years of experience. Approximately 24% of the included physicians practiced internal medicine.
Overall, costs were 13.2%, 10.0%, 6.5%, and 2.5% higher in physicians with fewer than 10 years, 10 to 19 years, 20 to 29 years, and 30 to 39 years of experience compared with those who had 40 years of experience or more. Other characteristics, such as malpractice claims, group size, or board certification, did not appear to be associated with costs. The study appears in the November Health Affairs.
The authors noted that they did not consider quality of care, examined physicians in a single state, and could not address causality, among other limitations. However, they concluded that physicians with higher cost profiles could suffer future negative effects, such as reduced Medicare payments and exclusion from high-value networks. The authors pointed out that physicians' costs might drop as they spend more time in practice but also raised the possibility of a cohort effect, which would mean that costs in these groups of physicians would remain high over time.
"We cannot fully explain the mechanism by which more-experienced physicians have lower costs," the authors wrote, "but our results suggest that the more costly practice style of newly trained physicians may be a driver of rising health care costs overall." If future research confirms their results, they said, the mechanisms behind these differences in cost should be studied further.
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Albert Fuchs, MD, FACP, graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, where he also did his internal medicine training. Certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, Dr. Fuchs spent three years as a full-time faculty member at UCLA School of Medicine before opening his private practice in Beverly Hills in 2000.
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Amanda Xi, ACP Medical Student Member, is a first-year medical student at the OUWB School of Medicine, charter class of 2015, in Rochester, Mich., from which she which chronicles her journey through medical training from day 1 of medical school.
Ira S. Nash, MD, FACP, is the senior vice president and executive director of the North Shore-LIJ Medical Group, and a professor of Cardiology and Population Health at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Diseases and was in the private practice of cardiology before joining the full-time faculty of Massachusetts General Hospital.
Zackary Berger, MD, ACP Member, is a primary care doctor and general internist in the Division of General Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins. His research interests include doctor-patient communication, bioethics, and systematic reviews.
Controversies in Hospital
Run by three ACP Fellows, this blog ponders vexing issues in infection prevention and control, inside and outside the hospital. Daniel J Diekema, MD, FACP, practices infectious diseases, clinical microbiology, and hospital epidemiology in Iowa City, Iowa, splitting time between seeing patients with infectious diseases, diagnosing infections in the microbiology laboratory, and trying to prevent infections in the hospital. Michael B. Edmond, MD, FACP, is a hospital epidemiologist in Richmond, Va., with a focus on understanding why infections occur in the hospital and ways to prevent these infections, and sees patients in the inpatient and outpatient settings. Eli N. Perencevich, MD, ACP Member, is an infectious disease physician and epidemiologist in Iowa City, Iowa, who studies methods to halt the spread of resistant bacteria in our hospitals (including novel ways to get everyone to wash their hands).
db's Medical Rants
Robert M. Centor, MD, FACP, contributes short essays contemplating medicine and the health care system.
Suneel Dhand, MD, ACP Member
Suneel Dhand, MD, ACP Member, is a practicing physician in Massachusetts. He has published numerous articles in clinical medicine, covering a wide range of specialty areas including; pulmonology, cardiology, endocrinology, hematology, and infectious disease. He has also authored chapters in the prestigious "5-Minute Clinical Consult" medical textbook. His other clinical interests include quality improvement, hospital safety, hospital utilization, and the use of technology in health care.
Juliet K. Mavromatis, MD, FACP, provides a conversation about health topics for patients and health professionals.
Dr. Mintz' Blog
Matthew Mintz, MD, FACP, has practiced internal medicine for more than a decade and is an Associate Professor of Medicine at an academic medical center on the East Coast. His time is split between teaching medical students and residents, and caring for patients.
Toni Brayer, MD, FACP, blogs about the rapid changes in science, medicine, health and healing in the 21st century.
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Other blogs of note:
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Also known as the Green Journal, the American Journal of Medicine publishes original clinical articles of interest to physicians in internal medicine and its subspecialities, both in academia and community-based practice.
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The Public Library of Science's open access materials include a blog.
One of the most popular anonymous blogs written by an emergency room physician.