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Survey: Spending doesn’t improve patients’ perception of care

HealthDay/Washington Post, May 28, 2008

Higher levels of medical care spending do not improve patients' perceptions of the care they receive, according to University of Massachusetts researchers who conducted a survey of Medicare beneficiaries. Researchers surveyed 2,515 Medicare beneficiaries about their perceptions of healthcare quality and compared their answers to per capita spending in various regions across the United States. There was a strong link between per capita spending and receiving more medical care, such as average number of ambulatory visits to physicians in the past year. But seven of the 10 measures of patients' perception of healthcare quality—such as unmet needs for tests and treatment, and spending enough time with doctors—were unrelated to expenditures, according to researchers.