OBJECTIVE: The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act requires insurance parity for mental health/substance use disorder and general medical services. Previous research found that parity did not increase mental health/substance use disorder spending and lowered out-of-pocket spending. Whether parity's effects differ by diagnosis is unknown. The authors examined this question in the context of parity implementation in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program.
METHOD: The authors compared mental health/substance use disorder treatment use and spending before and after parity (2000 and 2002, respectively) for two groups: FEHB enrollees diagnosed in 1999 with bipolar disorder, major depression, or adjustment disorder (N=19,094) and privately insured enrollees unaffected by the policy in a comparison national sample (N=10,521). Separate models were fitted for each diagnostic group. A difference-in-difference design was used to control for secular time trends and to better reflect the specific impact of parity on spending and utilization.
RESULTS: Total spending was unchanged among enrollees with bipolar disorder and major depression but decreased for those with adjustment disorder (-$62, 99.2% CI=-$133, -$11). Out-of-pocket spending decreased for all three groups (bipolar disorder: -$148, 99.2% CI=-$217, -$85; major depression: -$100, 99.2% CI=-$123, -$77; adjustment disorder: -$68, 99.2% CI=-$84, -$54). Total annual utilization (e.g., medication management visits, psychotropic prescriptions, and mental health/substance use disorder hospitalization bed days) remained unchanged across all diagnoses. Annual psychotherapy visits decreased significantly only for individuals with adjustment disorders (-12%, 99.2% CI=-19%, -4%).
CONCLUSIONS: Parity implemented under managed care improved financial protection and differentially affected spending and psychotherapy utilization across groups. There was some evidence that resources were preferentially preserved for diagnoses that are typically more severe or chronic and reduced for diagnoses expected to be less so.
In two important health policy contexts - private plans in Medicare and the new state-run "Exchanges" created as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) - plan payments come from two sources: risk-adjusted payments from a Regulator and premiums charged to individual enrollees. This paper derives principles for integrating risk-adjusted payments and premium policy in individual health insurance markets based on fitting total plan payments to health plan costs per person as closely as possible. A least squares regression including both health status and variables used in premiums reveals the weights a Regulator should put on risk adjusters when markets determine premiums. We apply the methods to an Exchange-eligible population drawn from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS).
BACKGROUND: Emergency surgery has become a rare event after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Whether having cardiac-surgery services available on-site is essential for ensuring the best possible outcomes during and after PCI remains uncertain.
METHODS: We enrolled patients with indications for nonemergency PCI who presented at hospitals in Massachusetts without on-site cardiac surgery and randomly assigned these patients, in a 3:1 ratio, to undergo PCI at that hospital or at a partner hospital that had cardiac surgery services available. A total of 10 hospitals without on-site cardiac surgery and 7 with on-site cardiac surgery participated. The coprimary end points were the rates of major adverse cardiac events--a composite of death, myocardial infarction, repeat revascularization, or stroke--at 30 days (safety end point) and at 12 months (effectiveness end point). The primary end points were analyzed according to the intention-to-treat principle and were tested with the use of multiplicative noninferiority margins of 1.5 (for safety) and 1.3 (for effectiveness).
RESULTS: A total of 3691 patients were randomly assigned to undergo PCI at a hospital without on-site cardiac surgery (2774 patients) or at a hospital with on-site cardiac surgery (917 patients). The rates of major adverse cardiac events were 9.5% in hospitals without on-site cardiac surgery and 9.4% in hospitals with on-site cardiac surgery at 30 days (relative risk, 1.00; 95% one-sided upper confidence limit, 1.22; P<0.001 for noninferiority) and 17.3% and 17.8%, respectively, at 12 months (relative risk, 0.98; 95% one-sided upper confidence limit, 1.13; P<0.001 for noninferiority). The rates of death, myocardial infarction, repeat revascularization, and stroke (the components of the primary end point) did not differ significantly between the groups at either time point.
CONCLUSIONS: Nonemergency PCI procedures performed at hospitals in Massachusetts without on-site surgical services were noninferior to procedures performed at hospitals with on-site surgical services with respect to the 30-day and 1-year rates of clinical events. (Funded by the participating hospitals without on-site cardiac surgery; MASS COM ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01116882.).
OBJECTIVES: To understand how drug therapy differently affects older women and men.
DESIGN: Population-based, retrospective cohort study.
SETTING: Ontario, Canada.
PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-one thousand five hundred twenty-six older adults (13,760 women, 7,766 men) with dementia newly started on oral atypical antipsychotic therapy between April 1, 2007, and March 1, 2010.
MEASUREMENTS: Numbers and rates of serious events. Serious events were defined as a hospital admission or death within 30 days of treatment initiation. Unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios of women and men were compared in the full cohort and in strata based on setting of care, age, Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI), and antipsychotic dose.
RESULTS: Of 21,526 older adults with a median age of 84, 1,889 (8.8%) had a serious event (1,044 women, 7.6%; 845 men, 10.9%). Of these, 363 women (2.6%) and 355 men (4.6%) died. Men were more likely than women to be hospitalized or die during the 30-day follow-up period (adjusted odds ratio = 1.47, 95% confidence interval = 1.33-1.62) and consistently more likely to experience a serious event in each stratum. A gradient of risk according to drug dose was found for the development of a serious event in women and men.
CONCLUSION: The risk of developing a serious event shortly after the initiation of antipsychotic therapy was high in women and men with dementia but was consistently higher in older men. This pattern remained the same in strata based on setting of care, age, CCI, and antipsychotic dose.
OBJECTIVE: The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act required health plans to provide mental health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) benefits on par with medical benefits beginning in 2010. Previous research found that parity significantly lowered average out-of-pocket (OOP) spending on MH/SUD treatment of children. No evidence is available on how parity affects OOP spending by families of children with the highest MH/SUD treatment expenditures.
METHODS: We used a difference-in-differences study design to examine whether parity reduced families' (1) share of total MH/SUD treatment expenditures paid OOP or (2) average OOP spending among children whose total MH/SUD expenditures met or exceeded the 90th percentile. By using claims data, we compared changes 2 years before (1999-2000) and 2 years after (2001-2002) the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program implemented parity to a contemporaneous group of health plans that did not implement parity over the same 4-year period. We examined those enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program because their parity directive is similar to and served as a model for the new federal parity law.
RESULTS: Parity led to statistically significant annual declines in the share of total MH/SUD treatment expenditures paid OOP (-5%, 95% confidence interval: -6% to -4%) and average OOP spending on MH/SUD treatment (-$178, 95% confidence interval: -257 to -97).
CONCLUSIONS: This study provides the first empirical evidence that parity reduces the share and level of OOP spending by families of children with the highest MH/SUD treatment expenditures; however, these spending reductions were smaller than anticipated and unlikely to meaningfully improve families' financial protection.
OBJECTIVE: This study examines how communication patterns vary across racial and ethnic patient-clinician dyads in mental health intake sessions and its relation to continuance in treatment, defined as attending the next scheduled appointment.
METHODS: Observational study of communication patterns among ethnically/racially concordant and discordant patient-clinician dyads. Primary analysis included 93 patients with 38 clinicians in race/ethnic concordant and discordant dyads. Communication was coded using the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS) and the Working Alliance Inventory Observer (WAI-O) bond scale; continuance in care was derived from chart reviews.
RESULTS: Latino concordant dyad patients were more verbally dominant (p<.05), engaged in more patient-centered communication (p<.05) and scored higher on the (WAI-O) bond scale (all p<.05) than other groups. Latino patients had higher continuance rates than other patients in models that adjusted for non-communication variables. When communication, global affect, and therapeutic process variables were adjusted for, differences were reversed and white dyad patients had higher continuance in care rates than other dyad patients.
CONCLUSION: Communication patterns seem to explain the role of ethnic concordance for continuance in care.
PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Improve intercultural communication in cross cultural encounters appears significant for retaining minorities in care.
BACKGROUND: The Affordable Care Act creates financial incentives for hospitals to minimize readmissions shortly after discharge for several conditions, with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) to be a target in 2015. We aimed to develop and validate prediction models to assist clinicians and hospitals in identifying patients at highest risk for 30-day readmission after PCI.
METHODS AND RESULTS: We identified all readmissions within 30 days of discharge after PCI in nonfederal hospitals in Massachusetts between October 1, 2005, and September 30, 2008. Within a two-thirds random sample (Developmental cohort), we developed 2 parsimonious multivariable models to predict all-cause 30-day readmission, the first incorporating only variables known before cardiac catheterization (pre-PCI model), and the second incorporating variables known at discharge (Discharge model). Models were validated within the remaining one-third sample (Validation cohort), and model discrimination and calibration were assessed. Of 36,060 PCI patients surviving to discharge, 3760 (10.4%) patients were readmitted within 30 days. Significant pre-PCI predictors of readmission included age, female sex, Medicare or State insurance, congestive heart failure, and chronic kidney disease. Post-PCI predictors of readmission included lack of β-blocker prescription at discharge, post-PCI vascular or bleeding complications, and extended length of stay. Discrimination of the pre-PCI model (C-statistic=0.68) was modestly improved by the addition of post-PCI variables in the Discharge model (C-statistic=0.69; integrated discrimination improvement, 0.009; P<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: These prediction models can be used to identify patients at high risk for readmission after PCI and to target high-risk patients for interventions to prevent readmission.
BACKGROUND: Cardiologists are distributed unevenly across regions of the United States. It is unknown whether patients in regions with fewer cardiologists have worse outcomes after hospitalization for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) or heart failure (HF).
METHODS AND RESULTS: Using Medicare administrative claims data from 2010, we examined the relationship between regional density of cardiologists and risk of death after hospitalization for AMI and HF using hospitalizations for pneumonia as a comparison. We defined density as the number of cardiologists divided by population aged≥65 years within hospital referral regions, categorized into quintiles. Among 171 126 admissions for AMI, 352 853 admissions for HF, and 343 053 admissions for pneumonia, we tested associations between density of cardiologists and 30-day and 1-year mortality for each condition. We used 2-level hierarchical logistic regression models that adjusted for characteristics of patients and hospital referral regions. Patients hospitalized for AMI (odds ratios [OR], 1.13; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.06-1.21) and HF (OR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.12-1.27) in the lowest quintile of density had modestly higher 30-day mortality risk compared with patients in the highest quintile, unlike patients hospitalized for pneumonia (OR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.96-1.09). Patients hospitalized for AMI (OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.00-1.12) and HF (OR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.04-1.13) in the lowest quintile had slightly higher 1-year mortality risk, unlike patients hospitalized for pneumonia (OR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.95-1.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Patients hospitalized for AMI and HF in regions with a low density of cardiologists experienced modestly higher 30-day and 1-year mortality risk, unlike patients with pneumonia.
IMPORTANCE: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services publicly reports hospital 30-day, all-cause, risk-standardized mortality rates (RSMRs) and 30-day, all-cause, risk-standardized readmission rates (RSRRs) for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia. The evaluation of hospital performance as measured by RSMRs and RSRRs has not been well characterized.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the relationship between hospital RSMRs and RSRRs overall and within subgroups defined by hospital characteristics.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: We studied Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries discharged with acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, or pneumonia between July 1, 2005, and June 30, 2008 (4506 hospitals for acute myocardial infarction, 4767 hospitals for heart failure, and 4811 hospitals for pneumonia). We quantified the correlation between hospital RSMRs and RSRRs using weighted linear correlation; evaluated correlations in groups defined by hospital characteristics; and determined the proportion of hospitals with better and worse performance on both measures.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Hospital 30-day RSMRs and RSRRs.
RESULTS: Mean RSMRs and RSRRs, respectively, were 16.60% and 19.94% for acute myocardial infarction, 11.17% and 24.56% for heart failure, and 11.64% and 18.22% for pneumonia. The correlations between RSMRs and RSRRs were 0.03 (95% CI, -0.002 to 0.06) for acute myocardial infarction, -0.17 (95% CI, -0.20 to -0.14) for heart failure, and 0.002 (95% CI, -0.03 to 0.03) for pneumonia. The results were similar for subgroups defined by hospital characteristics. Although there was a significant negative linear relationship between RSMRs and RSRRs for heart failure, the shared variance between them was only 2.9% (r2 = 0.029), with the correlation most prominent for hospitals with RSMR <11%.
CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE: Risk-standardized mortality rates and readmission rates were not associated for patients admitted with an acute myocardial infarction or pneumonia and were only weakly associated, within a certain range, for patients admitted with heart failure.
BACKGROUND: Monitoring mental health treatment outcomes for populations requires an understanding as to which patient information is needed in electronic format and is feasible to obtain in routine care.
OBJECTIVE: To examine whether bipolar disorder outcomes can be accurately predicted and how much clinical detail is needed to do so. RESEARCH DESIGN, DATA SOURCES, AND PARTICIPANTS: Longitudinal study of bipolar disorder patients treated during 2000 to 2004 in the 19-site Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder observational study arm (N=3168). Clinical data were obtained at baseline and quarterly for over 1 year. We fit a "gold standard" longitudinal random-effects regression model using a detailed clinical information and estimated the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) to predict accuracy using a validation sample. The model was then modified to include patient characteristics feasible in routinely collected electronic data (eg, administrative data). We compared the AUCs for the "limited-detail" and gold standard models, testing for differences between the AUCs using the validation sample.
MEASURE: Remission, defined as Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale score <5 and Young Mania Rating Scale score <4.
RESULTS: The gold standard models had baseline AUC=0.80 (95% confidence interval=0.74 to 0.86) and 0.75(0.64 to 0.86) at 1-year follow-up. The predicted accuracies of the limited-detail model were lower at baseline [AUC=0.67(0.60 to 0.75)]; correlated test χ=14.25, P=0.002] and not statistically different from the gold standard model at 1 year [AUC=0.67(0.54-0.80); correlated test χ=2.88, P=0.090].
CONCLUSIONS: Future work is needed to develop clinically accurate and feasible models to predict bipolar disorder outcomes. Clinically detailed and limited models performed similarly for shorter-term prediction at 1-year; however, there is room for improvement in prediction accuracy.
Safety-net hospitals, which include urban hospitals serving large numbers of low-income, uninsured, and otherwise vulnerable populations, have historically faced greater financial strains than hospitals that serve more affluent populations. These strains can affect hospitals' quality of care, perhaps resulting in worse outcomes that are commonly used as indicators of care quality-mortality and readmission rates. We compared risk-standardized rates of both of these clinical outcomes among fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries admitted for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, or pneumonia. These beneficiaries were admitted to urban hospitals within Metropolitan Statistical Areas that contained at least one safety-net and at least one non-safety-net hospital. We found that outcomes varied across the urban areas for both safety-net and non-safety-net hospitals for all three conditions. However, mortality and readmission rates were broadly similar, with non-safety-net hospitals outperforming safety-net hospitals on average by less than one percentage point across most conditions. For heart failure mortality, there was no difference between safety-net and non-safety-net hospitals. These findings suggest that safety-net hospitals are performing better than many would have expected.
BACKGROUND: Randomized trials show improved outcomes among acute coronary syndrome patients treated with bivalirudin. The objective of this analysis was to compare clinical and economic outcomes in ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients encountered in routine clinical practice undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI), treated with bivalirudin or heparin+GP IIb/IIIa receptor inhibitor (heparin+GPI).
METHODS AND RESULTS: STEMI admissions from January 1, 2004 through March 31, 2008 among patients receiving PPCI and bivalirudin or heparin+GPI in the Premier hospital database were identified. The probability of receiving bivalirudin was estimated using individual and hospital variables; using propensity scores, each bivalirudin patient was matched to 3 heparin+GPI treated patients. The primary outcome was in-hospital death. Rates of bleeding, transfusion, length of stay, and in-hospital cost were secondary outcomes. There were 59,917 STEMI PPCIs receiving bivalirudin (n=6735) or heparin+GPI (n=53,182). Seventy-nine percent of bivalirudin patients matched, resulting in 21,316 STEMI PPCIs for analysis. Compared with heparin+GPI patients, bivalirudin patients had fewer deaths (3.2% versus 4.0%; P=0.011) and less inpatient bleeding (clinically apparent bleeding [6.9% versus 10.5%, P<0.0001], clinically apparent bleeding with transfusion [1.6% versus 3.0%, P<0.0001], and transfusion [5.9% versus 7.6%, P<0.0001]). Patients receiving bivalirudin had shorter average length of stay (mean 4.3 versus 4.5 days; P<0.0001), with lower in-hospital cost (mean $18,640 versus $19,967 [median $14,462 versus $16,003], P<0.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: This large "real-world" retrospective analysis demonstrates that bivalirudin therapy compared with heparin+GPI is associated with a lower rate of inpatient death, inpatient bleeding, and decreased overall in-hospital cost in STEMI patients undergoing PPCI.
In this commentary, we argue that although randomization has many benefits, not all questions we seek to answer fit into a randomized setting. Our argument utilizes the clinical setting of carotid atherosclerosis management where specific clinical questions are answered by using a variety of comparative effectiveness designs. Observational studies should not be ruled out when designing studies to address questions of comparative effectiveness.
BACKGROUND: In-hospital mortality measures, which are widely used to assess hospital quality, are not based on a standardized follow-up period and may systematically favor hospitals with shorter lengths of stay (LOSs).
OBJECTIVE: To assess the agreement between performance measures of U.S. hospitals by using risk-standardized in-hospital and 30-day mortality rates.
DESIGN: Observational study.
SETTING: Nonfederal acute care hospitals in the United States with at least 30 admissions for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure (HF), and pneumonia from 2004 to 2006.
PATIENTS: Medicare fee-for-service patients admitted for AMI, HF, or pneumonia from 2004 to 2006.
MEASUREMENTS: The primary outcomes were in-hospital and 30-day risk-standardized mortality rates (RSMRs).
RESULTS: Included patients comprised 718,508 admissions to 3135 hospitals for AMI, 1,315,845 admissions to 4209 hospitals for HF, and 1,415,237 admissions to 4498 hospitals for pneumonia. The hospital-level mean patient LOS varied across hospitals for each condition, ranging from 2.3 to 13.7 days for AMI, 3.5 to 11.9 days for HF, and 3.8 to 14.8 days for pneumonia. The mean RSMR differences (30-day RSMR minus in-hospital RSMR) were 5.3% (SD, 1.3) for AMI, 6.0% (SD, 1.3) for HF, and 5.7% (SD, 1.4) for pneumonia; distributions varied widely across hospitals. Performance classifications differed between the in-hospital and 30-day models for 257 hospitals (8.2%) for AMI, 456 (10.8%) for HF, and 662 (14.7%) for pneumonia. Hospital mean LOS was positively correlated with in-hospital RSMRs for all 3 conditions.
LIMITATION: Medicare claims data were used for risk adjustment.
CONCLUSION: In-hospital mortality measures provide a different assessment of hospital performance than 30-day mortality and are biased in favor of hospitals with shorter LOSs.
PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
PURPOSE: To compare the performance of U.S. teaching and nonteaching hospitals using a portfolio of contemporary, publicly reported metrics.
METHOD: The authors classified acute care general hospitals filing a Medicare Institutional Cost Report according to teaching intensity: nonteaching, teaching, or Council of Teaching Hospitals member. They compared aggregate results across categories for Hospital Compare process compliance, mortality, and readmission rates (acute myocardial infarction [AMI], heart failure, pneumonia); Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) performance; compliance with Leapfrog standards; patient experience; patient services and key technologies; safety (computerized physician order entry, intensive care unit staffing, National Quality Forum safe practices, hospital-acquired conditions); and cost/resource utilization (Medicare-adjusted expense per case; Leapfrog efficiency and resource use standards).
RESULTS: Availability of patient services and advanced technologies were associated with teaching intensity (P < .0001), as were most hospital safety metrics. Teaching intensity was favorably associated with SCIP performance, AMI and heart failure process scores, and mortality (P < .0001). It was unfavorably associated with higher AMI and pneumonia readmission rates (P < .0001) and lower scores for individual patient satisfaction measures. Costs per case were similar (P = .4194) across hospital categories after correction for federally allowed adjustments (case mix, wages, and low-income patient care).
CONCLUSIONS: Teaching hospitals offer advanced clinical capabilities, educate the next generation of providers, care for disadvantaged urban populations, and are leaders in health care research and innovation. However, many stakeholders may be unaware of an additional value-relatively higher quality and safety in many areas, with similar adjusted costs.
BACKGROUND: The use of coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery in China is growing, but little is known about hospital-level performance. We sought to characterize the variation in performance across hospitals participating in a national registry in China.
METHODS AND RESULTS: The study sample was drawn from the Chinese Cardiac Surgery Registry, a national multicenter database that includes 43 hospitals across 13 provinces and 4 direct-controlled municipalities in China. We assessed consecutive patients undergoing isolated CABG surgery during the period of January 1, 2007, through December 31, 2008. Hierarchical generalized linear models were used to estimate hospital-level risk-standardized in-hospital all-cause mortality rates (RSMR) and major complication rates (RSMCR), which included death, myocardial infarction, reoperation for bleeding, mediastinal infection, stroke, reintubation, and renal failure. Among 8739 patients who underwent isolated CABG surgery, the mean age was 62.2 years (SD=9.2), and 78% were male. Observed in-hospital mortality and complication rates were 2.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.9-2.5%) and 6.6% (95% CI, 6.1-7.1%), respectively. The mean RSMR was 1.9% (SD=1.1), with a range of 0.7-5.8%, and the mean RSMCR was 6.4% (SD=1.5), with a range of 3.8-10.1%. The odds of dying and the odds of having a complication after CABG surgery at a hospital 1 SD below the average relative to a hospital 1 SD above the average were 2.06 (95% CI, 1.40-3.04) and 1.53 (95% CI, 1.31-1.79), respectively. The Eastern region had the lowest RSMR and RSMCR (1.6% and 5.8%, respectively), whereas the Central region had the highest RSMR (2.5%) and the Southern region had the highest RSMCR (7.7%).
CONCLUSIONS: Mortality and complication rates after CABG surgery in the Chinese Cardiac Surgery Registry are generally low but vary by hospital and region within China. These results suggest that there are opportunities to improve outcomes in some CABG facilities.
The impact of parity coverage on the quantity of behavioral health services used by enrollees and on the prices of these services was examined in a set of Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) Program plans. After parity implementation, the quantity of services used in the FEHB plans declined in five service categories, compared with plans that did not have parity coverage. The decline was significant for all service types except inpatient care. Because a previous study of the FEHB Program found that total spending on behavioral health services did not increase after parity implementation, it can be inferred that average prices must have increased over the period. The finding of a decline in service use and increase in prices provides an empirical window on what might be expected after implementation of the federal parity law and the parity requirement under the health care reform law.