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Study sheds new light on how surgery impacts chronic kidney disease, bone health

June 28, 2017

The authors provide several specific recommendations, including standardizing transactions as much as possible and conducting them electronically rather than by mail, fax and phone. These measures would not only reduce costs but would also reduce the so-called "hassle factor" of physician and staff interruptions for phone calls that interfere with patient care, say the authors. In addition, the authors cite Affordable Care Act changes such as bundled payments, and the creation of accountable care organizations as potentially decreasing administrative burdens over the long term.

Additional findings from the study, "U.S. Physician Practices Spend Nearly Four Times as Much Money Interacting With Health Plans and Payers Than Do Their Canadian Counterparts":

* On average, U.S. doctors spent 3.4 hours per week interacting with health plans while doctors in Ontario spent about 2.2 hours. Nurses and medical assistants in the U.S. spend 20.6 hours per physician per week on administrative tasks related to health plans, nearly 10 times the time spent by those in Ontario.

* U.S. clerical staff spend 53.1 hours per physician per week on administrative tasks related to insurance, compared with 15.9 hours in Ontario. Most of the difference comes from the time U.S. clerical staff spend on billing (45.5 hours) and obtaining prior authorizations (6.3 hours).

* Senior administrators in the U.S. spend much more time per physician than their Canadian counterparts on overseeing claims and billing tasks: 163.2 hours a year in the U.S. compared with 24.6 hours a year in Ontario.

Source: Weill Cornell Medical College