Medicaid

Not Much Money to Be Saved from Medicaid's Most Expensive Services

More complicated than researchers thought

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Treating the costliest Medicare patients in doctors' offices instead of emergency rooms or hospitals whenever possible may not save as much money as originally hoped, according to a new study.

After analyzing recent data on more than one million Medicare patients, researchers found that only about a tenth of the money spent on the program's most expensive patients was for care that could be provided without a trip to the hospital.

"I think it's a more complicated problem than we thought," said Dr. Karen Joynt, the study's lead author, from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.