Care perceptions not linked to Medicare spending, report finds

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Providers do not necessarily need to spend high amounts on Medicare beneficiaries to maintain positive quality-of-care perceptions, the findings of a recent report suggest.

Per capita spending on Medicare beneficiaries -- be it $12,000 a year in Miami or $5,700 in Minneapolis -- seems to have no effect on a patient or resident's perception of care, according to researchers at the University of Massachusetts. In fact, 63.3% of respondents in the lower-expenditure bracket reported a care rating of nine or 10 out of 10, compared to 55.4% in the higher-spending bracket. Seven of the 10 criteria used to measure perceived satisfaction, however, did not pertain directly to per capita spending, researchers noted. As a result, researchers observed “no consistent association” between spending and perception of quality.

Researchers sampled 4,000 Medicare beneficiaries for the survey, 4% of who lived in long-term care facilities. 65% of beneficiaries responded. The full report appears in the May 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.