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Berenson-Eggers Type of Service (BETOS) Classification System

What is the Berenson-Eggers Type of Service (BETOS) classification system?

The BETOS classification system is a hierarchical system used in healthcare for grouping similar medical services and procedures into categories. It was developed to analyze Medicare claims data and to facilitate research and policy analysis related to healthcare utilization and costs.

Each BETOS code corresponds to a Health Care Financing Administration Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) procedure code, ensuring each HCPCS code is assigned to a specific BETOS category. BETOS codes are categorized clinically (rather than financially or statistically), ensuring relevance despite minor changes in medical practices or technologies.

The BETOS classification system categories include:

  • Evaluation and management
  • Procedures
  • Imaging
  • Tests
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Other
  • Exceptions/unclassified

Originally established in the 1980s, the BETOS system has evolved to encompass Part B non-physician services and to expand the number of clinically based service categories. An expert panel of clinicians and researchers annually updates the system to reflect current medical practices and advancements.

How is the BETOS classification system useful?

The BETOS classification system is the only coding system with clinically meaningful categories that allow for analyzing spending patterns. It has several important purposes in the realm of healthcare and healthcare policy:

  • Healthcare utilization analysis: BETOS categorizes medical services and procedures into clinically meaningful groups. This allows researchers and analysts to study patterns of healthcare utilization among Medicare beneficiaries. By understanding which types of services are most used, healthcare providers and policymakers can better allocate resources and plan for future healthcare needs.
  • Cost analysis: By grouping similar services together, BETOS facilitates cost analysis and comparison across different categories of healthcare services. This is particularly valuable for analyzing trends in healthcare expenditures within Medicare and identifying areas where costs may be rising or where efficiencies can be improved.
  • Policy development: BETOS provides a framework for policymakers to evaluate the impact of healthcare policies and reforms. For example, it can be used to assess how changes in reimbursement rates or coverage policies affect the utilization and cost of specific types of healthcare services.
  • Quality assessment: The classification system can also support efforts to assess the quality of care provided. By analyzing utilization patterns within BETOS categories, healthcare organizations can identify opportunities to improve care delivery and outcomes.
  • Forecasting and planning: BETOS data can be used for forecasting future healthcare needs and planning healthcare services. For instance, it can help predict demand for certain types of procedures or equipment based on historical utilization trends.
  • Research and benchmarking: Researchers use BETOS to conduct studies on healthcare delivery and outcomes. The standardized categorization allows for comparisons across different studies and populations, supporting evidence-based research and benchmarking.

Overall, the BETOS classification system provides a structured approach to understanding and analyzing healthcare utilization and costs, which is essential for informed decision-making in healthcare management, policy, and research.