Medicare Pays More for Procedural Care Than Cognitive, Study Finds

Medicare pays physicians three to five times more for procedural care than it pays for cognitive care that may cut costs and improve population health, according to a JAMA Internal Medicine study.

DoctorResearchers compared the hourly pay physicians received for providing cognitive care — primary care physicians' main professional activities — to how much Medicare paid them for two common procedures — cataract extractions and colonoscopies. They found Medicare paid 368 percent more for colonoscopies and 486 percent more for cataract extractions than it reimbursed physicians for a similar amount of time spent on cognitive care.

Based on these results, these two common specialty procedures could generate more revenue in a couple of hours than a primary care physician receives for a day's work, according to the study. The researchers said their findings demonstrate financial pressures incentivize U.S. care providers to perform costly procedures that drive up healthcare spending.

More Articles on Healthcare Spending:
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10 Cost-Cutting Methods Physicians Support Most 

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