Spending across top outpatient services decreased in 2020 with the exception of surgery and pharmacy

The Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC) has launched a new tool to help understand health care affordability in Colorado. Based on claims data in the Colorado All Payer Claims Database (CO APCD), the first release of the Affordability Dashboard includes data to help users understand how much gets paid for health care services in Colorado across major categories and specific categories related to outpatient services.

Data in the Community Dashboard provides similar cost per person per year information at the county and Division of Insurance region, but the new Affordability Dashboard cost of care data digs deeper into service categories and provides additional payer breakouts for CHP+ and new categories for spending, including long term care and dental services.

Trends from the Community Dashboard indicate that next to pharmacy spending, outpatient services in Colorado have increased the most from . The new Affordability Dashboard digs deeper into the outpatient service category and highlights the subcategories of spending driving outpatient costs. for outpatient are surgery, other (includes radiology, chemotherapy, hemodialysis, and physical therapy), Emergency Department use, and pharmacy (drugs administered in an outpatient setting).

According to the data, with the onset of COVID-19 in 2020, outpatient service costs per person per year dropped for all outpatient subcategories except surgery and pharmacy, both of which increased over 2019 .

Professional costs have the highest percent spending across all service categories, but it’s important to note that the professional category includes spending for ambulance services and durable medical equipment (DME), and is not limited to payments made to providers for services.

In the near future, CIVHC will be adding new data to the Affordability Dashboard, including cost related to low value care, drug rebates, commercial payments compared to Medicare, and Alternative Payment Models. If you have questions or suggestions for the new Affordability Dashboard, please contact us at info@civhc.org.

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