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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

GW Study Shows Doctors Trained in Higher Expenditure Regions Continue to Spend More

A recent study by researchers at Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University shows that physicians who do residency training in regions of the country with higher health care spending patterns continue to practice in a more costly manner – even when they move to a geographic area where health care spending is lower.

The study, published December 9, 2014 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA),  looked at physicians who completed residencies between 1992 and 2010 and examined the relationship between the spending patterns in the region in which their residency program was located and their spending patterns as practicing physicians, using Medicare claims data. The researchers found that exposure to spending patterns during residency appears to imprint on physicians and they continue to practice with a similar spending pattern for years.

The research grew out of collaboration between the Milken Institute SPH Department of Health Policy and the Robert Graham Center, an independent research unit working under the personnel and financial policies of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Dr. Candice Chen,  who did the research while an assistant research professor at Milken Institute SPH at the George Washington University, served as lead author on the study. Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan, the Murdock Head Professor of Medicine and Health Policy at Milken Institute SPH, was senior author of the paper. Other authors of the paper are Dr. Stephen Petterson, research director of the Robert Graham Center, Dr. Robert Phillips, the vice president for research and policy at the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM), and Dr. Andrew Bazemore, director of the Robert Graham Center. The study was funded by the American Board of Family Medicine Foundation, Inc., and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Read more about the study.