Specialist Care in Medicare FFS Adding to Growing Complexity of PCP Work Burden

On this episode of Managed Care Cast, we speak with one of the coauthors of a study that illustrates the changing outpatient trends in a primary care provider’s (PCP) panel of Medicare patients and how that translates to an increased workload for primary care doctors.

Fragmented health care is a known issue for patients and providers, and nowhere is the problem as acute as it is in the over-65 population. Studies have shown that patients who have a strong relationship with a primary care provider (PCP) who coordinates their care have better outcomes. But care provided by specialists has expanded over the past 2 decades, and the average PCP has twice as many specialists involved in the care of their fee-for-service Medicare patients as they did 20 years ago, according to research published in Annals of Internal Medicine this week.

On this episode of Managed Care Cast, we speak with one of the coauthors of the study, "Trends in Outpatient Care for Medicare Beneficiaries and Implications for Primary Care, 2000 to 2019," which illustrates the changing trends in a PCP’s panel of Medicare patients and how that translates to an increased workload for primary care doctors.

Michael L. Barnett, MD, MS, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, is also an assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and holds a master of science in health policy and management from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.

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