News: Hospitalists more likely to bill Medicare beneficiaries as high-severity compared to non-hospitalists, study shows

CDI Strategies - Volume 16, Issue 15

Hospitalists billed a significantly higher proportion Medicare beneficiaries as high-severity compared to non-hospitalists in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Health Forum. Additionally, this gap has been growing over time from the study’s earliest samples from 2009 to the latest in 2018.

The study looked at more than four million Medicare fee-for-service Part A and Part B medical claims between the years of 2009 and 2018 and compared the high-severity billing between hospitalists versus non-hospitalists across initial, subsequent, and discharge encounters.

Hospitalists were found to have more of these medical encounters in the hospital, reaching roughly 775 of all encounters by 2018. According to the study, “high-severity billing increased over time for hospital encounters at higher rates for hospitalists than non-hospitalists,” noting the differences “do not appear to be explained by patient complexity.” Additionally, “the increase in the number of hospitalists over time may be contributing to rising national costs related to hospital care.”

Editor’s note: The JAMA Health Forum study can be found here.

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