Percutaneous interventions for peripheral artery disease (PAD) are transitioning away from hospital-based settings to office-based laboratories (OBLs). Those in favor of OBL use reference lower hospitalization rates and high efficiency; however, critics claim financial incentives may lead to multiple procedures and higher atherectomy use. We sought to determine how Medicare payments are affected by OBL use. We identified physicians performing percutaneous interventions for PAD from 2006 to 2013 in a 20% Medicare sample. Physicians performing a majority of interventions at OBLs were classified as high OBL users; control physicians performed interventions at hospital-based settings. The primary outcomes were total Medicare payments at 30 days and 1 year. Generalized log-gamma regression models were used to evaluate factors influencing payments reported as a percentage change and 95% confidence interval (95% CI). A secondary analysis was performed of physicians who transitioned from hospital-based settings to OBLs, “switch physicians.” A multivariate model with difference-in-differences regression was used to evaluate the effects of transitioning to OBLs.

A total of 89 high OBL users performed percutaneous interventions on 887 patients, and 3715 control physicians treated 54,213 patients during the time period. Payments for patients treated by high OBL users were significantly higher compared with control physicians. 

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