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Study Identifies Factors Associated With Overuse of Health Care Within US Health Systems

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A new study published in JAMA found health systems that employed fewer primary care physicians, have higher bed counts or are investor owned were more likely to provide more unnecessary or low-value care, writes Beckers Hospital Review.

In this study of US health systems, researchers studied 676 US health care systems to measure low-value health care use within health systems in the US and explore features of the health systems associated with low-value care delivery. They identified occurrences of 17 low-value services in 3745 hospitals and affiliated outpatient sites. Hospitals were linked to 676 health systems in the US using the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Compendium of Health Systems. The participants were 100% of Medicare beneficiaries with claims from 2016 to 2018. The researchers then rated the hospitals using an overuse index, which was based on the Medicare claims for the low-value healthcare services. Health systems rated at least 1.5 standard deviations or more above the average in the overuse index were considered over-users of low-value services.

The study found higher amounts of overuse among health systems were associated with investor ownership and fewer primary care physicians.

Beckers Hospital Review provides a breakdown of the 20 hospitals that provided the most unnecessary care based on the overuse index.

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