• Health Care Administrative Costs, Continued

    I’ve received considerable feedback on my prior post on the size of health care administrative costs, some by e-mail and also in comments to the post itself. Those of you who read it earlier may want to go back and take a another look. The tone has changed a bit. But more importantly there are links to some other papers of relevance. If all you’re interested in is the literature, then the following list is what I’ve learned of to date. I’ll update it if folks send more. So check back here (this post).

    Relevant Literature

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    • Consider this recent study:
      ABSTRACT: Physicians have long expressed dissatisfaction with the time they and their staffs spend interacting with health plans. However, little information exists about the extent of these interactions.We conducted a national survey on this subject of physicians and practice administrators. Physicians reported spending three hours weekly interacting with plans; nursing and clerical staff spent much larger amounts of time. When time is converted to dollars, we estimate that the national time cost to practices of interactions with plans is at least $23 billion to $31 billion each year. [Health Affairs 28, no. 4 (2009): w533–w543 (published online 14 May 2009; 10.1377/hlthaff.28.4.w533)]

    • Good point on nurses as they are also affected. I also think that papers looking at only direct billing times miss a lot of the time and expense involved. Beyond nurses, social workers and visiting nurses will also be affected.

      I have never looked, but are there papers looking at this from the consumer side? What is the amount of time that the health care consumer must spend interacting with their insurance entity in a system like our vs a single payer or even a system like that of France or Germany. Anecdotally it appears to be much less.

      Steve