OBJECTIVES: To examine the impact of incentive formularies on prescription drug spending shifts in formulary compliance, use of generic medications, and mail-order fulfillment in the year after introduction of a new pharmacy benefit strategy.
STUDY DESIGN: Pre-post comparison study with matched concurrent control group (difference-indifferences analysis).
METHODS: Study subjects were continuously enrolled patients from a single large health plan in the northeastern United States. Health plan administrative data were used to determine the total, health plan, and out-of-pocket spending in the year before and the year after the introduction of 12 different benefit changes, including 1 in which copayments decreased.
RESULTS: Overall, changing from a single-tier or 2-tier formulary to a 3-tier formulary was associated with a decrease in total drug spending of about 5% to 15%. Plan spending decreased more dramatically, about 20%, whereas out-of-pocket spending that resulted from higher copayments increased between 20% and >100%. Changing to an incentive formulary with higher copayments was accompanied by a small but inconsistent decrease in use of nonformulary selections and a concomitant increase in both generic and formulary preferred utilization. Mail-order fulfillment doubled, albeit from a low baseline level.
CONCLUSIONS: Switching to incentive formulary arrangements with higher levels of copayments generally led to overall lower drug costs and vice versa. These effects varied with the degree of change, level of baseline spending, and magnitude of the copayments. Whether these effects are beneficial overall depends on potential health effects and spillover effects on medical spending.
To complement the current process measures for treating patients with heart attacks and with heart failure, which target gaps in quality but do not capture patient outcomes, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed the public reporting of hospital-level thirty-day mortality for these conditions in 2007. We present the case for including measurements of outcomes in the assessment of hospital performance, focusing on the care of patients with heart attacks and with heart failure. Recent developments in the methodology and standards for outcomes measurement have laid the groundwork for incorporating outcomes into performance monitoring efforts for these conditions.
Safety-net hospitals are experiencing increasing financial strains, possibly affecting their quality of care. We compare quality at safety-net and non-safety-net urban hospitals for Medicare beneficiaries admitted with acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Although safety-net hospitals had modestly higher risk-standardized thirty-day all-cause mortality rates and modestly lower adherence to quality-of-care performance measures than non-safety-net hospitals, there was much heterogeneity among safety-net hospitals and substantial overlap with non-safety-net hospitals. We examine the implications of these findings for the millions of vulnerable Americans who rely on safety-net hospitals for their care.
CONTEXT: In contrast to the commercially insured population, the proportion of Medicaid beneficiaries enrolling in health maintenance organizations continues to increase.
OBJECTIVE: To compare quality of care within and between the Medicaid and commercial populations in 3 types of managed care plans: Medicaid-only plans (serving predominantly Medicaid enrollees), commercial-only plans (serving predominantly commercial enrollees), and Medicaid/commercial plans (serving substantial numbers of both types of enrollees).
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: All 383 health plans that reported quality-of-care data to the National Committee for Quality Assurance for 2002 and 2003, including 204 commercial-only plans, 142 Medicaid/commercial plans (plans reported data for the Medicaid and commercial populations separately); and 37 Medicaid-only plans.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Eleven quality indicators from the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) applicable to the Medicaid population.
RESULTS: Among Medicaid enrollees, performance on the 11 measures observed in this study were comparable for Medicaid-only plans and Medicaid/commercial plans. Similarly, among commercial enrollees, there was virtually no difference in performance between health plans that served only the commercial population and those that also served the Medicaid population. Overall across all health plan types, the performance for the commercial population exceeded the performance for the Medicaid population on all measures except 1, ranging from a difference of 4.9% for controlling hypertension (58.4% for commercial vs 53.5% for Medicaid; P = .002) to 24.5% for rates of appropriate postpartum care (77.2% for commercial vs 52.7% for Medicaid; P = .001). Differences of similar magnitude were observed for commercial and Medicaid populations treated within the same health plan.
CONCLUSIONS: Medicaid managed care enrollees receive lower-quality care than that received by commercial managed care enrollees. There were no differences in quality of care for the Medicaid population between Medicaid-only plans and commercial plans that also served the Medicaid population.
BACKGROUND: Patients of low socioeconomic status (SES) have higher mortality after acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Little is known about the underlying mechanisms or the relationship between SES and rehospitalization after AMI.
METHODS: We analyzed data from the PREMIER observational study, which included 2142 patients hospitalized with AMI from 18 US hospitals. Socioeconomic status was measured by self-reported household income and education level. Sequential multivariable modeling assessed the relationship of socioeconomic factors with 1-year all-cause mortality and all-cause rehospitalization after adjustment for demographics, clinical factors, and quality-of-care measures.
RESULTS: Both household income and education level were associated with higher risk of mortality (hazard ratio 2.80, 95% CI 1.37-5.72, lowest to highest income group) and rehospitalization after AMI (hazard ratio 1.55, 95% CI 1.17-2.05). Patients with low SES had worse clinical status at admission and received poorer quality of care. In multivariable modeling, the relationship between household income and mortality was attenuated by adjustment for demographic and clinical factors (hazard ratio 1.19, 95% CI 0.54-2.62), with a further small decrement in the hazard ratio after adjustment for quality of care. The relationship between income and rehospitalization was only partly attenuated by demographic and clinical factors (hazard ratio 1.38, 95% CI 1.01-1.89) and was not influenced by adjustment for quality of care.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients' baseline clinical status largely explained the relationship between SES and mortality, but not rehospitalization, among patients with AMI.
BACKGROUND: Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is effective in prolonging survival and reducing disability in patients with coronary heart disease. However, national use patterns and predictors of CR use have not been evaluated thoroughly.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Using Medicare claims, we analyzed outpatient (phase II) CR use after hospitalizations for acute myocardial infarctions or coronary artery bypass graft surgery in 267,427 fee-for-service beneficiaries aged > or = 65 years who survived for at least 30 days after hospital discharge. We used multivariable analyses to identify predictors of CR use and to quantify geographic variations in its use. We obtained unadjusted, adjusted-smoothed, and standardized rates of CR use by state. Overall, CR was used in 13.9% of patients hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction and 31.0% of patients who underwent coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Older individuals, women, nonwhites, and patients with comorbidities (including congestive heart failure, previous stroke, diabetes mellitus, or cancer) were significantly less likely to receive CR. Coronary artery bypass graft surgery during the index hospitalization, higher median household income, higher level of education, and shorter distance to the nearest CR facility were important predictors of higher CR use. Adjusted CR use varied 9-fold among states, ranging from 6.6% in Idaho to 53.5% in Nebraska. The highest CR use rates were clustered in the north central states of the United States.
CONCLUSIONS: CR use is relatively low among Medicare beneficiaries despite convincing evidence of its benefits and recommendations for its use by professional organizations. Use is higher after coronary artery bypass graft surgery than with acute myocardial infarctions not treated with revascularization procedures and varies dramatically by state and region of the United States.
BACKGROUND: A model using administrative claims data that is suitable for profiling hospital performance for heart failure would be useful in quality assessment and improvement efforts.
METHODS AND RESULTS: We developed a hierarchical regression model using Medicare claims data from 1998 that produces hospital risk-standardized 30-day mortality rates. We validated the model by comparing state-level standardized estimates with state-level standardized estimates calculated from a medical record model. To determine the stability of the model over time, we used annual Medicare cohorts discharged in 1999-2001. The final model included 24 variables and had an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.70. In the derivation set from 1998, the 25th and 75th percentiles of the risk-standardized mortality rates across hospitals were 11.6% and 12.8%, respectively. The 95th percentile was 14.2%, and the 5th percentile was 10.5%. In the validation samples, the 5th and 95th percentiles of risk-standardized mortality rates across states were 9.9% and 13.9%, respectively. Correlation between risk-standardized state mortality rates from claims data and rates derived from medical record data was 0.95 (SE=0.015). The slope of the weighted regression line from the 2 data sources was 0.76 (SE=0.04) with intercept of 0.03 (SE=0.004). The median difference between the claims-based state risk-standardized estimates and the chart-based rates was <0.001 (25th percentile=-0.003; 75th percentile=0.002). The performance of the model was stable over time.
CONCLUSIONS: This administrative claims-based model produces estimates of risk-standardized state mortality that are very good surrogates for estimates derived from a medical record model.
BACKGROUND: A model using administrative claims data that is suitable for profiling hospital performance for acute myocardial infarction would be useful in quality assessment and improvement efforts. We sought to develop a hierarchical regression model using Medicare claims data that produces hospital risk-standardized 30-day mortality rates and to validate the hospital estimates against those derived from a medical record model.
METHODS AND RESULTS: For hospital estimates derived from claims data, we developed a derivation model using 140,120 cases discharged from 4664 hospitals in 1998. For the comparison of models from claims data and medical record data, we used the Cooperative Cardiovascular Project database. To determine the stability of the model over time, we used annual Medicare cohorts discharged in 1995, 1997, and 1999-2001. The final model included 27 variables and had an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.71. In a comparison of the risk-standardized hospital mortality rates from the claims model with those of the medical record model, the correlation coefficient was 0.90 (SE=0.003). The slope of the weighted regression line was 0.95 (SE=0.007), and the intercept was 0.008 (SE=0.001), both indicating strong agreement of the hospital estimates between the 2 data sources. The median difference between the claims-based hospital risk-standardized mortality rates and the chart-based rates was <0.001 (25th and 75th percentiles, -0.003 and 0.003). The performance of the model was stable over time.
CONCLUSIONS: This administrative claims-based model for profiling hospitals performs consistently over several years and produces estimates of risk-standardized mortality that are good surrogates for estimates from a medical record model.
BACKGROUND: One approach to improving quality of care is to encourage physicians to follow evidence-based practice guidelines. Examples of evidence-based guidelines are the PORT recommendations for the treatment of schizophrenia. However, few studies have examined the relationship between adherence to guidelines and patient outcomes in clinical settings.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this article is to report the relationship between guideline adherence to antipsychotic medication dose and self-reported health status, side effects, and perceptions of care.
RESEARCH DESIGN: This report is based on a subsample of patients from a larger prospective observational study of disabled Massachusetts Medicaid beneficiaries treated for schizophrenia.
SUBJECTS: Participants were 329 acutely ill, vulnerable, high-risk Medicaid adult beneficiaries enrolled after visiting any 1 of 8 psychiatric emergency screening teams for hospital admission evaluation.
MEASURES: Dose levels, symptoms, and functioning from medical records; self-reports as data collected from BASIS-32, SF-12, and CABHS; and paid health benefit claims for psychiatric treatment were measured.
RESULTS: Approximately 40% of the patients in this study had daily antipsychotic doses well above the recommended range, but there was no evidence that their health status was better than those on doses below 1000 CPZ units recommended for acute episodes. High-dose levels had no relationship to baseline symptom profile or referral source.
CONCLUSIONS: There was no evidence that health status was better on higher-than-recommended doses, but we cannot conclude that lower doses for some would have led to poorer outcomes. Physicians who believe that higher doses are more therapeutic for patients need to demand rigorous effectiveness research that tests whether there are benefits of higher doses and determine the ratio of those benefits to the clinical costs, including the risk of side effects.
Howard H Goldman, Richard G Frank, Audrey M Burnam, Haiden A Huskamp, Susan M Ridgely, Sharon-Lise T Normand, Alexander S Young, Colleen L Barry, Vanessa Azzone, Alisa B Busch, Susan T Azrin, Garrett Moran, Carolyn Lichtenstein, and Margaret Blasinsky. 2006. “Behavioral health insurance parity for federal employees.” N Engl J Med, 354, 13, Pp. 1378-86.Abstract
BACKGROUND: To improve insurance coverage of mental health and substance-abuse services, the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program offered mental health and substance-abuse benefits on a par with general medical benefits beginning in January 2001. The plans were encouraged to manage care.
METHODS: We compared seven FEHB plans from 1999 through 2002 with a matched set of health plans that did not have benefits on a par with mental health and substance-abuse benefits (parity of mental health and substance-abuse benefits). Using a difference-in-differences analysis, we compared the claims patterns of matched pairs of FEHB and control plans by examining the rate of use, total spending, and out-of-pocket spending among users of mental health and substance-abuse services.
RESULTS: The difference-in-differences analysis indicated that the observed increase in the rate of use of mental health and substance-abuse services after the implementation of the parity policy was due almost entirely to a general trend in increased use that was observed in comparison health plans as well as FEHB plans. The implementation of parity was associated with a statistically significant increase in use in one plan (+0.78 percent, P<0.05) a significant decrease in use in one plan (-0.96 percent, P<0.05), and no significant difference in use in the other five plans (range, -0.38 percent to +0.23 percent; P>0.05 for each comparison). For beneficiaries who used mental health and substance-abuse services, spending attributable to the implementation of parity decreased significantly for three plans (range, -201.99 dollars to -68.97 dollars; P<0.05 for each comparison) and did not change significantly for four plans (range, -42.13 dollars to +27.11 dollars; P>0.05 for each comparison). The implementation of parity was associated with significant reductions in out-of-pocket spending in five of seven plans.
CONCLUSIONS: When coupled with management of care, implementation of parity in insurance benefits for behavioral health care can improve insurance protection without increasing total costs.
This study compared the self-report Behavior and Symptom Identification Scale (BASIS-32) and clinician-rated Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) in their ability to predict a measure of psychiatric outcome, 1-year psychiatric hospital readmission. BASIS-32 and GAF were completed at admission for 1034 patients in an inpatient psychiatric facility. Multiple informants analysis was used to determine the difference between the two in predicting readmission within 1 year. We also examined sensitivity, specificity, and predictive value positive of the two measures, and whether self-report added information above clinician rating in predicting outcome. While the odds of 1-year readmission decreased with increasing BASIS-32 score, there was no association between change in GAF score and 1-year readmission. Although neither measure used alone demonstrated high predictive value, using both scores improved predictive ability over using clinician rating alone. In this setting, self-report was better than clinician rating in predicting psychiatric outcome. Differences between the two in relation to other outcomes need to be examined.
CONTEXT: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) measure and report quality process measures for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), but little is known about how these measures are correlated with each other and the degree to which inferences about a hospital's outcomes can be made from its performance on publicly reported processes.
OBJECTIVE: To determine correlations among AMI core process measures and the degree to which they explain the variation in hospital-specific, risk-standardized, 30-day mortality rates.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: We assessed hospital performance in the CMS/JCAHO AMI core process measures using 2002-2003 data from 962 hospitals participating in the National Registry of Myocardial Infarction (NRMI) and correlated these measures with each other and with hospital-level, risk-standardized, 30-day mortality rates derived from Medicare claims data.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Hospital performance on AMI core measures; hospital-specific, risk-standardized, 30-day mortality rates for AMI patients aged 66 years or older.
RESULTS: We found moderately strong correlations (correlation coefficients > or =0.40; P values <.001) for all pairwise comparisons between beta-blocker use at admission and discharge, aspirin use at admission and discharge, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor use, and weaker, but statistically significant, correlations between these medication measures and smoking cessation counseling and time to reperfusion therapy measures (correlation coefficients <0.40; P values <.001). Some process measures were significantly correlated with risk-standardized, 30-day mortality rates (P values <.001) but together explained only 6.0% of hospital-level variation in risk-standardized, 30-day mortality rates for patients with AMI.
CONCLUSIONS: The publicly reported AMI process measures capture a small proportion of the variation in hospitals' risk-standardized short-term mortality rates. Multiple measures that reflect a variety of processes and also outcomes, such as risk-standardized mortality rates, are needed to more fully characterize hospital performance.
OBJECTIVES: To quantify the influence of physicians' experiences of adverse events in patients with atrial fibrillation who were taking warfarin.
DESIGN: Population based, matched pair before and after analysis.
SETTING: Database study in Ontario, Canada.
PARTICIPANTS: The physicians of patients with atrial fibrillation admitted to hospital for adverse events (major haemorrhage while taking warfarin and thromboembolic strokes while not taking warfarin). Pairs of other patients with atrial fibrillation treated by the same physicians were selected.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Odds of receiving warfarin by matched pairs of a given physician's patients (one treated after and one treated before the event) were compared, with adjustment for stroke and bleeding risk factors that might also influence warfarin use. The odds of prescriptions for angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor before and after the event was assessed as a neutral control.
RESULTS: For the 530 physicians who had a patient with an adverse bleeding event (exposure) and who treated other patients with atrial fibrillation during the 90 days before and the 90 days after the exposure, the odds of prescribing warfarin was 21% lower for patients after the exposure (adjusted odds ratio 0.79, 95% confidence interval 0.62 to 1.00). Greater reductions in warfarin prescribing were found in analyses with patients for whom more time had elapsed between the physician's exposure and the patient's treatment. There were no significant changes in warfarin prescribing after a physician had a patient who had a stroke while not on warfarin or in the prescribing of ACE inhibitors by physicians who had patients with either bleeding events or strokes.
CONCLUSIONS: A physician's experience with bleeding events associated with warfarin can influence prescribing warfarin. Adverse events that are possibly associated with underuse of warfarin may not affect subsequent prescribing.
BACKGROUND: Since the 1990s, parity laws have been implemented to reduce inequities in mental health coverage compared with that for general medical conditions. It is unclear if parity under managed care is associated with improvements in mental health treatment quality. Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a prevalent but often undetected and undertreated and thus could potentially benefit from parity implementation.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to examine the association between parity implementation and changes in MDD treatment quality in the Federal Employees' Health Benefits (FEHB) Program.
METHODS: We conducted retrospective analyses of insurance claims data. Logistic regression models estimated quality changes for MDD-diagnosed enrollees from pre- to postparity.
SUBJECTS: Subjects included MDD-diagnosed FEHB insured enrollees, aged 18-64, across multiple states and 6 FEHB plans before (1999-2000) and after (2001-2002) parity implementation.
MEASURES: Measures included receipt of any antidepressant or psychotherapy within a given calendar year of diagnosis; receipt of appropriate psychotherapy frequency/intensity and duration; and pharmacotherapy duration during acute-phase treatment episodes.
RESULTS: Postparity, several plans improved significantly in the likelihood of receiving antidepressant medication. In the acute-phase episodes, the greatest improvement was seen in the likelihood of follow up >or=4 months. Few or no other changes were observed in the acute-phase treatment intensity or duration quality measures.
CONCLUSIONS: Parity under managed care was associated with modest improvements. The observed improvements were consistent with secular trends in MDD treatment. Whereas mental health parity is an important policy goal, these results highlight its limitations: improving the financing of care may not be sufficient to improve quality.
OBJECTIVE: The aims of this study were to examine labor supply effects of interventions for major depressive disorder and to compare these effects with a summary measure of clinical effectiveness.
METHODS: Research articles published in English-language journals from 1980 through May 2004 were searched by using five research databases. Only randomized trials that included a placebo group or a usual care group were eligible for the study, regardless of the specific type of intervention. Valid trials were those that enrolled adult patients with major depressive disorder and assessed changes in labor output by using a measure of time worked or labor market participation. From a total of 706 trials uncovered from the database searches, only four met all inclusion criteria. Trial outcomes were transformed into standardized effect sizes on the basis of Cohen's d. Hierarchical linear models were used to separately pool work outcomes and clinical outcomes.
RESULTS: An improvement of .34 standard deviation was found in the size of the clinical effect of interventions compared with placebo or usual care among 1,261 unique patients with depression. An improvement of .12 standard deviation was found in the size of the effect on labor supply among 1,848 unique patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Although the interventions studied were associated with reduced symptoms of depression and increased labor output, the labor benefits were small according to standard benchmarks used in interpreting the substantive significance of values of Cohen's d. The difference in effects may have been due to different underlying efficacies, brief durations of follow-up, or extrinsic factors that affect labor supply.
PURPOSE: Despite dramatic changes in heart failure management during the 1990s, little is known about the national heart failure mortality trends during this time period, particularly among the elderly. The purpose of this study was to determine temporal trends in outcomes of elderly patients with heart failure between 1992 and 1999.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS: We analyzed a national sample of 3,957,520 Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 years or more who were hospitalized with heart failure between 1992 and 1999, assessing temporal trends in 30-day and 1-year all-cause mortality and 30-day and 6-month all-cause hospital readmission. In risk-adjusted analyses, mortality and readmission for each year between 1994 and 1999 were compared with the referent year of 1993.
RESULTS: Crude 30-day and 1-year mortality decreased slightly (range for 1992-1999: 11.0%-10.3% and 32.5%-31.7%, respectively), whereas 30-day and 6-month readmission increased (10.2%-13.8% and 35.4%-40.3%, respectively). After risk adjustment, there was no change in 30-day mortality between 1993 and 1999 (eg, for 1999 vs 1993, odds ratio [OR] 1.01, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.00-1.02). One-year mortality was lower in 1994 compared with 1993 (OR 0.91, 95% CI, 0.90-0.92), but data from subsequent years suggested no continuous improvement after 1994 (1999 vs 1993: OR 0.93, 95% CI, 0.92-0.94). Thirty-day readmission increased (1999 vs 1993: OR 1.09, 95% CI, 1.07-1.10), but there was no change in 6-month readmission (1999 vs 1993: OR 1.00, 95% CI, 0.99-1.01).
CONCLUSION: We found no substantial improvement in mortality and hospital readmission during the 1990s among elderly patients hospitalized with heart failure. These findings suggest that recent innovations in heart failure management have not yet translated into better outcomes in this population.