Arnold Milstein says the federal government already has health payment information that could help insurers improve physician efficiency.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid could generate some savings immediately and more savings over time simply by offering private insurers or their consulting firms access to the full Medicare claims database in a “beneficiary-anonymized” format, Milstein says in a written statement submitted to the congressional Joint Economic Committee.
Milstein testified today at a committee hearing on health information tools.
Milstein emphasizes the importance of looking at the “all-in cost” of treating an episode of acute illness, such as a broken leg, or a year of a chronic illness such as diabetes.
The all-in cost includes the cost of drugs, imaging studies, lab tests, specialist consultations and hospitalizations as well as a physician’s fees, Milstein says.
Even after adjusting for the differences in the mix and severity of patients treated, one physician may generate twice as much in all-in costs as a second physician in the same specialty in the same community, Milstein says.