Impact of provider characteristics on use of endovenous ablation procedures in Medicare beneficiaries
© 2018 Society for Vascular Surgery Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the association between provider characteristics and intensity of endovenous therapy (EVT) utilization in the Medicare population. Methods: The Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Data Public Use Files (2012-2014) were queried to construct a database of providers performing EVT using laser or radiofrequency ablation techniques for treatment of lower extremity venous reflux. A utilization index (UI; EVT procedure per patient treated per year) was calculated for each provider, and median services per county were determined. Provider specialty, geographic region, and site of service (facility vs outpatient) were determined for each patient. Multivariate regression analysis was used to identify provider characteristics associated with a UI above the 75th percentile. Results: There were 6599 providers who performed EVT in 405,232 Medicare beneficiaries during the study period. Intensity of EVT use by providers was assessed by the calculated UI, the average number of EVT procedures performed in treated patients per year (range, 1-4). Vascular surgeons had the lowest UI among all provider specialties (1.32). By multivariate analysis, the likelihood of a provider's UI being >1.8 (top 25%) was associated with provider training in a field other than surgery, cardiology, or radiology (odds ratio [OR], 3.35; 2.74-4.09); services performed in an outpatient setting (OR, 2.62; 1.97-3.47); and providers who perform high annual volume of EVT (OR, 8.68; 7.59-9.91). A high annual volume provider was defined as one whose EVT volume was ≥75th percentile nationally. Conclusions: There is great variation in intensity of vein ablation procedures performed on Medicare beneficiaries by geographic location and provider specialty. High-volume providers and those with a specialty not traditionally associated with the management of lower extremity chronic venous disease are more likely to perform more EVT procedures per patient.
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