Changes in Medicare reimbursement in Colorado: impact on physicians' economic behavior.
Date of Pub
In 1976 there was a change in Medicare reimbursement policy in the State of Colorado. This study analyzes the impact of that
change on physicians' economic behavior. Through 1976, prevailing charges (one of the determinants of the level of physician
reimbursement under Medicare) were computed separately within each of 10 regions of Colorado. Since then, they have been computed
for the State as a whole, and thus, physicians in like specialties have had equal prevailing charges throughout the State.
This change in reimbursement policy led to a relative increase in prevailing charges for physicians in small urban and nonurban
areas of the State, and a relative decrease for physicians in the major urban areas. In this paper we analyze the impact of
this change on several aspects of physician behavior. We found that physicians whose reimbursement rates declined as a result
of the change--primarily those in the Denver/Boulder area--provided more-intensive medical services, had lower assignment
rates, and charged lower prices than they would have in the absence of the change.
Insurance, Physician Services : Medicare : Reimbursement Mechanisms : Colorado : Comparative Study : Fees, Medical/trends
: Rate Setting and Review : Regression Analysis : Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.