Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

More Money, Better Health?

30.05.2011
New Study Finds that Medicare Beneficiaries with Higher Medical Spending Have Better Health Outcomes

A new study from George Mason University and the Urban Institute reveals that greater spending on medical services means better overall health for Medicare participants. Health Administration and Policy Professor Jack Hadley and his co-authors, Urban Institute researchers Timothy Waidmann, Stephen Zuckerman, and Robert Berenson, analyzed data from more than 17,000 Medicare beneficiaries to draw this conclusion.

Previous reports showed that Medicare spending varies greatly by geographic area, but with little to show for it-the health outcomes for people who live in expensive geographic areas are not necessarily better than those who live in less expensive geographic areas. As a result, policymakers have considered limiting Medicare payments in high-cost areas.

But, as described in their recent study, "Medical Spending and the Health of the Elderly," the research team found that spending more on Medicare medical expenses actually resulted in greater survival and a better overall health score, using an index that measures perceived health and activity limitations.

"The motivation for the study was a large body of research that's been done over the past ten years that typically has found that there is little or no relationship between how much Medicare spends and the health outcomes of elderly people," Hadley says.

But these studies looked at large swathes of populations, typically by geographic location, and used averages to draw their conclusions. "The implication was that higher spending was not contributing to better health," Hadley says.

He explains, "While that finding is very persuasive, it doesn't look at individuals and the amount of medical care that they each receive." So in this study, the research team used data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey, which collects extensive information from Medicare participants over a three-year span, to determine whether a relationship existed between medical spending and better health.

"The surveys provide much richer information about the person's health condition than one can typically get from insurance claims data," Hadley says.

The full results of the study will appear in an upcoming edition of the journal Health Services Research, which is published by the Health Research and Educational Trust and is an official journal of AcademyHealth.

"Over this three-year period-controlling for people's health when they first come into the survey and new diagnoses they may have had over the course of the three years-what was their health like at the end of the observation period? And did that vary with how much medical care they received as individuals?" Hadley asks.

The statistical analysis indicates that the individuals' health did vary with their medical care spending. Over a three-year span, for a 10 percent increase in medical spending, there was 1.9 percent increase in the patient's health score, called the Health and Activity Limitations Index and a 1.5 percent greater survival probability.

The researchers classify this finding as a "modest effect" but stress that "the key thing is that we did find a positive relationship as opposed to other studies which have suggested that there's no relationship between how much care a person receives and what their health outcomes are."

"This suggests that policymakers need to understand that across-the-board reductions in Medicare spending in a geographic area or on a national level could have harmful effects on beneficiaries' health," The Urban Institute's Timothy Waidmann explains. "To look for inefficiencies, you need to look more closely at specific conditions and diseases and how those are treated. Analysis from 40,000 feet just doesn't do that for you."

The study was supported from a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's program on Health Care Financing and Organization.

The abstract can be viewed online here and are full findings are available upon request.

About George Mason University

George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country. Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university. George Mason University-Where Innovation Is Tradition.

Leah K. Fogarty | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.gmu.edu

Further reports about: Medical Wellness health outcomes health services medical care

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drought hits rivers first and more strongly than agriculture
06.09.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

nachricht Landslides triggered by human activity on the rise
23.08.2018 | European Geosciences Union

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: Scientists present new observations to understand the phase transition in quantum chromodynamics

The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.

This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.

Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...

Im Focus: Patented nanostructure for solar cells: Rough optics, smooth surface

Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.

"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...

Im Focus: New soft coral species discovered in Panama

A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.

Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...

Im Focus: New devices based on rust could reduce excess heat in computers

Physicists explore long-distance information transmission in antiferromagnetic iron oxide

Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.

Im Focus: Finding Nemo's genes

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

"Boston calling": TU Berlin and the Weizenbaum Institute organize a conference in USA

21.09.2018 | Event News

One of the world’s most prominent strategic forums for global health held in Berlin in October 2018

03.09.2018 | Event News

4th Intelligent Materials - European Symposium on Intelligent Materials

27.08.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Astrophysicists measure precise rotation pattern of sun-like stars for the first time

21.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Brought to light – chromobodies reveal changes in endogenous protein concentration in living cells

21.09.2018 | Life Sciences

"Boston calling": TU Berlin and the Weizenbaum Institute organize a conference in USA

21.09.2018 | Event News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>