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Spending on Vascular Care Has Little Effect on Amputations

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 21, 2013

"We know that if you [have circulation health issues and] get no vascular care, that's not good. But we wanted to look at those who did, and ask whether, if you got five angioplasties and a leg bypass, did that translate to a better outcome than if you had just a simple operation and an angioplasty."

"If you think about it, if you're in a region that consistently spends more money, and you're likely using more expensive technology, you would think that if that technology worked better, then the amputation risks would be lower; you'd think you're doing something better.

"What we found is that the more aggressive they were, the more procedures were done and the higher the cost… that didn't translate into lower rates of amputation."

Other variations included the difference on regional spending for revascularization or debridement, exclusive of the amputation in the year before these patients underwent amputation.

Regions with the lowest mean spending:

  • Muncie IN – $1,277
  • Duluth, MN – $3.342
  • Topeka, KS – $4199

Regions with the highest mean spending:

  • St. Paul, MN – $14,063
  • Toledo, OH – $14,107
  • Harlingen, TX – $14,120
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