When it comes to a standard visit to the doctor’s office, the most expensive places in the United States are clustered in the Midwest and Alaska, as well as around Boston and Seattle, according to figures published by GoLocalWorcester.
While the Affordable Care Act has increased the number of patients with insurance coverage, access to care remains an issue, notably among low-income populations, as FiercePracticeManagement has previously reported.
The Milwaukee-Waukesha, Wisconsin area tops the list for high-cost doctor visits with an average of more than $180, according to the article, which used data from the Council for Community and Economic Research to compile the cost of a general practitioner's routine examination of an established patient across different locations.
Of the 50 locations with the highest average cost, the Midwest region sees the highest number of areas. Alaska, which GoLocalWorcester notes has had continuing issues with high healthcare costs, hosts four of the top 10 most-expensive areas. Other notable clusters among the top 50 occur around Boston and Seattle, while the South features relatively few areas that make the list.
FiercePracticeManagement and its sister publication, FierceHealthcare, have reported extensively on the importance of the cost of care in the healthcare value equation. For example, millennial patients keep cost, efficiency and accessibility top-of-mind when making their care choices, and the industry has entered an ongoing debate over the appropriate place for retail clinics now that recent research has called their ability to save costs into question.
Our reporting also suggests practices and healthcare organizations have moved to address the issues of cost in a number of ways:
- Studies have shown telehealth visits to be an effective way of reducing the cost of patient visits.
- Some organizations have begun to collect information and present it to consumers as a way of increasing transparency around healthcare costs, creating the potential for comparison shopping.
- New models aligned with the industry shift toward value-based care, such as the patient-centered medical home, have shown promise in reducing care costs while improving population health.
- read the article