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Young Doctors Spend 13% More Than Older Physicians

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, November 8, 2012

The cost-cutting ability of physicians is coming under increasing scrutiny. Health plans and Medicare are beginning to identify the costliest physicians, in hopes of crafting policy interventions to reduce overall spending, Mehrotra says. That is being done through physician "cost profiles," which provide a picture of the interventions performed by different physicians.

Not only that, but the cost profiles may be used as a basis for adjusting a physician's reimbursement via Medicare's new value based payment modifier under the Affordable Care Act, Mehrotra adds.

Surely, nearly everyone in the medical field agrees that in younger physicians, many see hope that more are technologically advanced, and more in tune with the multidisciplinary teams so desperately needed for improved quality and efficiencies. But don't count the older physicians out when it comes to saving money for delivery of care, says Mehrotra.

The study focused on physicians included in the Massachusetts Health Quality Partners database - some 12,704 physicians involved in 27 specialties. The physician performance scores were used from insurance claims from 1.13 million patients who were enrolled in four health plans in Massachusetts from 2004 to 2005.

Specifically, the study found that mean per-capita patient costs were $14,906 for physicians with fewer than 10 years of experience. Those with more than 40 years of experience had costs of $10,104. "When you think of the $2 billion spent overall for healthcare, those figures for each physician are significant," Mehrotra says.  There was no association between the care costs and malpractice claims or the size of the physician group, he adds.

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2 comments on "Young Doctors Spend 13% More Than Older Physicians"


Herb Ruhs, MD (11/8/2012 at 2:13 PM)
This article sets a new standard for stupidity. I am used to this site having no shame, but this one is a duzzy. I was a teacher in training programs for these new physicians. They have been trained to waste money. Older physicians are finding it more and more difficult to find work in part because they were not trained this way and threaten corporate plans and profits. The author really ought to consider a new line of work. Unless of course it is deliberately misleading to help distract people from the fact of corporate destruction of medicine in the US, in which case his employers are likely pleased.

tyber mayro (11/8/2012 at 2:13 PM)
Hilarious to hear the disgruntled physicians are ready to quit if Obama won. Quit and do what exactly? Sure they are unhappy about reimbursement, but current levels of payment are completely unsustainable no matter who was President. Did they notice that Romney himself didn't actually have a health plan to replace Obamacare with? Why? Even he knew there had to be giant cuts. The point of American healthcare is to get care to as many people as possible[INVALID]to be sustain physician salaries at all costs.