Comparing the costs between provider types of episodes of back pain care

by Paul G. Shekelle, Martin Markovich, Rachel Louie

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The authors compared the costs of episodes of back pain care between different provider types in a population representataive of the U.S. Data from the RAND Health Insurance Experiment were analyzed. Insurance claims forms were examined for all visits specified by the patient as occurring for back pain. Visits were grouped into episodes using decision rules and clinical judgment. The primary provider was defined as the provider who delivered most of the care. Comparisons of costs between provider types were made. This study finds that there are economically significant differences in the costs of back pain care of persons seeing chiropractors, general practitioners, internists, and orthopedists.

Originally published in: Spine, v. 20, no. 2, 1995, pp. 221-226.

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