Office-based dermatologic diagnostic procedure utilization in the United States Medicare population from 2000-2016


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Abstract

BackgroundPotassium hydroxide preparations (KOH) and tissue examinations for ova and parasites (O&P) are cost-effective office-based tests. No studies have quantified their utilization and economic impact.MethodsThe objective is to determine the billing patterns and costs of office-based diagnostic procedures in the Medicare population. We conducted a cross sectional study using the Part B National Summary Data File (2000–2016) and the Physician and Other Supplier Public Use File (2012–2015) released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.ResultsIn 2016, the total number of claims among all providers was 28,432 (KOH) and 52,182 (O&P), representing a decrease since 2000 (KOH, −41.8%; O&P, −43.4%). The total claims for in-office procedures by dermatologists per 10,000 beneficiaries decreased between 2012 and 2015 (KOH, −18.8%; O&P, −26.6%). Fewer dermatologists submitted claims for the tests (KOH, −11.3%; O&P, −16.6%). The total single (SB) and multiple (MB) biopsy claims by dermatologists per 10,000 beneficiaries decreased between 2012 and 2015 (SB, −1.8%; MB, −2.7%). The 2016 aggregate payments (% change since 2000) for KOH and O&P were $163,127.75 (−60.4%) and $299,074.18 (−61.6%), respectively; for SB and MB, they were $240,047,487.98 (+142.3%) and $38,214,117.22 (+79.2%), respectively.ConclusionFewer dermatologists submit claims for KOH and O&P each year. Future studies should evaluate whether this is due to a loss of cost-efficacy, and secondly, if it is related to decreased reimbursement, burdensome in-office laboratory regulations, or changing provider preferences.

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