Repeat Testing Among Medicare Beneficiaries

JAMA: 11/19/12

Background  Although the tendency to repeat examinations is a major determinant of the capacity to serve new patients and of the ability to contain health care costs, little research has described the patterns observed in actual practice.

Methods  We investigated patterns of repeat testing in a longitudinal study of a 5% random sample of Medicare beneficiaries, restricted to 743 478 fee-for-service patients who were alive for a 3-year period after their index test between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2006. Using the 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas as the unit of analysis, we examined the relationship between the proportion of the population tested and the proportion of tests repeated among those tested. Read More