Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Medicare HMOs fail to control costs of colon surgery in elderly patients

21.12.2004


The costs of caring for elderly Florida patients hospitalized for colon surgery are not reduced by Medicare HMOs, report University of South Florida researchers in the December issue of the Archives of Surgery.



Despite significantly shorter hospital stays, Medicare HMO beneficiaries who underwent colon resections -- surgery to remove a diseased section of the large intestines -- incurred the same overall hospital charges as patients covered by traditional fee-for-service Medicare. Consequently, the study found, daily hospital charges for the Medicare HMO group were higher than for the traditional Medicare group. The researchers assumed a direct relationship between hospital charges, available from the Agency for Health Care Administration’s Florida database, and actual costs, which are difficult to obtain from hospital executives.

"The Medicare HMO model failed as a cost-saving measure in this particular instance," said the study’s principal investigator Michel Murr, MD, an associate professor of surgery in the USF College of Medicine. "Our finding appears to be confirmed by the recent departure of major HMOs from the Medicare market in Florida."


Dr. Murr and his research team, headed by Dr. Jimmy Sung, examined the outcomes of all colon resections for patients age 70 and older in Florida from 1995 to 1999. Colon resection, usually performed to remove cancer, treat diverticulitis or remove a bowel blockage, is the most common abdominal surgery in elderly patients.

Regardless of the type of Medicare coverage, the researchers noted a 10 to 30 percent increase in hospital charges for colon resections in the four-year study period. Even with an older, frailer patient population and overall decline in length of hospital stay, deaths and complications from this procedure remained low.

The intention of Medicare HMOs is to reduce waste in the system by trying to eliminate unnecessary and inappropriate care, while giving providers incentives to use cost-efficient care. The elderly who opt to enroll in a Medicare HMO, a managed care model that emphasizes preventive care and offers beneficiaries less out-of-pocket costs, tend to be younger and have fewer chronic illnesses than their counterparts who stick with traditional Medicare coverage.

"Medicare HMO patients typically have shorter hospital stays and less secondary illnesses like diabetes, hypertension and pulmonary diseases," Dr. Murr said. "You’d expect operating on these healthier patients would result in lower charges – but it does not."

Results of the Florida study were similar to other studies that have concluded rates of high-cost surgical procedures were not reduced among Medicare HMO enrollees. More research is warranted to determine why daily hospital charges were higher for the Medicare HMO group, Dr. Murr said.

"Unless we adequately plan for an ever-growing population of elderly surgical patients, our health care expenditures will continue to skyrocket."

Anne DeLotto Baier | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.usf.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance

27.02.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

27.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>