Sumary of Hutchins Roundup: Medicare spending, capital buffers, and more :
- Studies in this week’s Hutchins Roundup find that urgent care centers raise Medicare spending, U.S. banks were reluctant to draw down capital buffers to lend during the pandemic, and more.
- Do urgent care centers reduce the number of costly visits to hospital emergency rooms?
- Examining the rapid expansion of these centers between 2006 and 2016, Janet Currie and Anastasia Karpova of Princeton and Dan Zeltzer of Tel Aviv University say no.
- They find that total Medicare spending in zip codes with a new urgent care center increased relative to spending in zip codes without a center—without any change in mortality rates.
- Rather than substituting for emergency room visits or visits to a primary care doctor, the authors say, urgent care centers lead to a greater increase in inpatient hospital care, especially for elective care.
- Specifically, they find per patient spending rises by 4.2% six years after the opening of an urgent care center.
- Urgent care centers are increasingly owned by or contract with hospital systems;
- the authors suggest that incentives to funnel more patients into hospitals may be partly responsible for the increased spending on hospital care.