(HealthDay News) – Use of gastroenterology anesthesia services increased considerably from 2003–2009 among both Medicare and commercially-insured patients.
To quantify temporal and regional variations in the use of, and payment for, gastroenterology anesthesia services, Hangsheng Liu, PhD, from the RAND Corporation in Boston, and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of 2003–2009 claims data for a 5% representative sample of Medicare fee-for-service patients (1.1 million adults) and a sample of 5.5 million commercially-insured patients.
The researchers found that, in Medicare patients, the number of gastroenterology procedures per million enrollees remained largely unchanged (mean, 136,718 procedures), whereas among commercially-insured patients there was more than a 50% increase during the study period (from 33,599 in 2003 to 50,816 in 2009). The proportion of gastroenterology procedures using anesthesia services in both populations increased from approximately 14% in 2003 to more than 30% in 2009, with more than two-thirds of anesthesia services used in low-risk patients (defined using the American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status class 1 or 2). In both populations, substantial regional variation was seen in the proportion of procedures using anesthesia services, varying from 13% in the West to 59% in the Northeast. For Medicare patients, payments for gastroenterology anesthesia services doubled, and in commercially-insured patients they quadrupled.
“Between 2003–2009, utilization of anesthesia services during gastroenterology procedures increased substantially,” the authors write.
The study was funded by Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc.