Study: Medical Equipment, Home Health Are Big Reasons for Variation in Health Care Use

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<p>A new <a href="/publications/journal-article/2012/may/durable-medical-equipment-and-home-health-among-largest">Commonwealth Fund–supported study</a> of geographic variation in the use of health care by Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries reveals that two categories of services—durable medical equipment and home health—are among the biggest contributors to the overall variation seen. </p><p>The authors of the <em>Health Affairs</em> study, led by James Reschovsky, Ph.D., a senior fellow at the Center for Studying Health System Change, say the finding may indicate fraud and abuse. They also note that reforms to how health care providers are reimbursed and how insurance benefits are designed could promote more efficient use of all health care resources. </p>
<p>Also in the new issue of <em>Health Affairs</em>: <a href="/publications/journal-article/2012/may/japan-all-payer-rate-setting-under-tight-government-control">Commonwealth Fund–supported research</a> by Naoki Ikegami, M.D., Ph.D., and Gerard Anderson, Ph.D., focuses on how Japan has been able to contain health care spending, as a share of gross domestic product, to about half the level seen in the United States. </p>
<p>Japan, which has universal insurance coverage, has been able to maintain access to care and avoid rationing while still take advantage of the latest medical technology by applying a standardized fee schedule for nearly all health care goods and services. </p>
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