Study finds surgeons' costs vary widely

June 1, 2006

A recent study in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons may provide a partial answer to why health-care costs continue to rise. The study found that surgeons may be part of the problem.

A recent study in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons may provide a partial answer to why health-care costs continue to rise. The study found that surgeons may be part of the problem.

The study found that "physicians' costs for the same kinds of surgical procedures can vary as much as 45%-even when the operations are adjusted for risk and complexity," reported Modern Healthcare (3/27/2006). The variance may prompt administrators to question whether physicians are using the same resources efficiently to produce the same outcomes. It may also spur debate about whether attempts to reduce these disparities could reduce costs and improve efficiency.

The study involved 29 physicians and 785 patients who underwent general or vascular surgery at a hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich. from September 2003 to September 2004.