Tip Sheets

Understanding variations in spending (Elliot Fisher)

Dr. Fisher helps reporters understand health care spending data in context.


Elliott S. Fisher, M.D., Ph.D., director, Center for Health Policy Research, Dartmouth Medical School

PDF of presentation

Panel description: 

For decades, journalists have relied on tools such as the Dartmouth Atlas to write about areas of the country with excessive spending and overtreatment, bolstering the Mayo Clinic’s reputation and taking down McAllen, Texas. The White House and Congress are looking to put this academic analysis into Medicare policy that would penalize high-spending areas. But concerns also are increasing. Would reining in high-spending areas hurt patient care? Do Medicare spending disparities reflect the entire health care market? Is end-of-life spending a fair or fallacious way to judge medical efficiency?