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Study Finds Administrative Costs Vary by Type of Visit

Healthcare Dive writes: A new study published in JAMA reviewed administrative costs connected to physician billing activities. The researchers found that the processing time and total costs for billing and insurance-related activities varied greatly by the patient encounter and the type of doctor involved, with median costs for primary care amounting to the least and inpatient surgery the most. The study concludes understanding how billing and insurance-related activities “contribute to administrative costs may help inform policy solutions to reduce these expenses.” The study looked at a large academic healthcare system with a certified EHR system. Researchers interviewed 27 health system administrators and 34 physicians. They used data to calculate the cost for each major billing and insurance-related activity and then estimated the health system’s total cost of processing an insurance claim in five patient encounters: primary care, discharged emergency department (ED) visits, general medicine inpatient stays, ambulatory surgical procedures and inpatient surgical procedures.

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