CHICAGO—Investigators from around the country presented their findings at the 119th Annual Meeting of the Triological Society, held here May 21-22, 2016, in conjunction with the 2016 Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meetings. Here are some research highlights from the event.
Explore this issue:August 2016
Alden Folsom Smith, BMus, a researcher from Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, presented his analysis of the geographic variation in Medicare spending. He and his colleagues began their research by hypothesizing that Medicare expenditures for otolaryngology physician services are affected by the regional location of the Medicare beneficiary. To address this hypothesis, their cross-sectional study averaged expenditures for otolaryngology physician services in each hospital referring region (HRR). They utilized the work relative value units (wRVUs) collected by otolaryngologists and divided them by a thousand Medicare beneficiaries in the region (wRVUs/kMCB). While the expenditures by HRR did not change over the two-year period, Smith reported a marked variation in wRVUs/kMCB among HRRs for otolaryngologist services.
Additionally, the researchers found that the relative supply of otolaryngologists, medical specialists, and primary care physicians was strongly associated with the regional expenditures on otolaryngology physician care. The great variation in the supply of otolaryngologists in the regional physician specialty mix was thus driving the differences in regional Medicare expenditures.