Increased informal interaction among primary- and specialty-care physicians within health systems was associated with lower Medicare payments for surgery, according to AHRQ-funded research in JAMA Surgery. Researchers analyzed the records of about 253,000 Medicare beneficiaries who underwent coronary artery bypass graft surgeries. They concluded that increased interactions among physicians — defined as “informal integration” — were associated with lower payments due to fewer duplicate tests, treatments or other services. Such informal integration could provide a model to reduce surgery costs nationally, researchers said. Savings were greatest for reduced hospital readmissions (13 percent) and post-acute care (5.8 percent). The authors concluded that increasing informal interactions may be a promising method to lower surgery payments, in addition to formal integration, such as that from accountable care organizations. Access the abstract.
JAMA Surg. 2017 Dec 27. doi: 10.1001/jamasurg.2017.5150. [Epub ahead of print]
Association of Informal Clinical Integration of Physicians With Cardiac Surgery Payments.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS:
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES:
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: