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

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

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: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>