Preventable costs were higher per capita in areas with higher numbers of primary-care and specialist physicians, but it’s unclear if this was a supply or demand issue. The study also used algorithms that possibly overestimate the amount of preventable acute care.
Bottom line: In the highest Medicare utilizers, cost savings aimed at preventable acute care may be limited and might be better targeted at efficiency during acute-care episodes.
Citation: Joynt KE, Gawande AA, Orav EJ, Jha AK. Contribution of preventable acute care spending to total spending for high-cost Medicare patients. JAMA. 2013;309:2572-2578.