Study shows higher Medicaid primary care spending linked to lower hospitalization spending

Medicaid NewsA Medicaid study published in the Health Affairs Journal in July 2011, has shown that in some states, there is a link between spending more in Medicaid primary care and spending less on hospitalizations.

It has been widely accepted by health policy experts that spending in Medicaid varies significantly from one state to another, and among the regions within those states. However, what is not as evident is the way in which the prices and the usage patterns impact the Medicaid spending differences among the states. What had also not yet been identified is whether there was a link in the Medicaid among the various kinds of care.

The researchers looked into the fee-for-service patterns in spending in Medicaid in different states, with regards to enrollees with a disability who qualified for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

According to the co-author of the study, professor of health economics Todd Gilmer, PhD, from the University of California, San Diego, the research brought to light the most comparable Medicaid information as a result of the eligibility standards that are relatively consistent among the states for this specific demographic.

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The research was designed to start an investigation into Medicaid in a way that mirrors the study performed by Dartmouth Atlas which examined spending in Medicare.

The conclusion of the study was that both volume and pricing play crucial roles in the spending differences in Medicaid from one region to another. Overall, the highest spending in Medicaid was in the Middle Atlantic states, as a result of the higher volume of services and the higher prices.

Conversely, the Southern states saw lower rates of both volume and prices and therefore saw the lowest spending in Medicaid overall. The rest of the country experienced a mix of pricing and volume.

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