Geographic Variation in Fee-for-Service Medicare Beneficiaries’ Medical Costs Is Largely Explained by Disease Burden

Med Care Research Review: May 28, 2013

Control for area differences in population health (casemix adjustment) is necessary to measure geographic variations in medical spending. Studies use various casemix adjustment methods, resulting in very different geographic variation estimates. We study casemix adjustment methodological issues and evaluate alternative approaches using claims from 1.6 million Medicare beneficiaries in 60 representative communities. Two key casemix adjustment methods—controlling for patient conditions obtained from diagnoses on claims and expenditures of those at the end of life—were evaluated.  Read more