High Deductible Plans Hit Chronically Ill Low-Income Patients Hardest

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Salam Abdus, PhD Division of Research and Modeling, Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Department of Health and Human Services Rockville, Maryland

Dr. Abdus

Salam Abdus, PhD
Division of Research and Modeling,
Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends,
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Department of Health and Human Services
Rockville, Maryland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 


Response:
High deductible health plans are more prevalent than ever.

Previous research showed that adults in low-income families or with chronic conditions are more likely to face high financial burdens when they are enrolled in high-deductible health plans, compared to adults in higher income families or healthier adults.

In this study we examined the financial burden of high-deductible health plans among adults who are both low income and chronically ill. We used AHRQ’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Household Component (MEPS-HC) data from 2011 to 2015 to study the prevalence of high out-of-pocket health care spending burden of high deductible health plans among adults enrolled in employer-sponsored insurance. We included family out-of-pocket spending on premiums and health care services.

We found that among adults who had family income below 250% of Federal Poverty Level (FPL), had multiple chronic conditions, and were enrolled in high-deductible health plans, almost half (46.9%) had financial family out-of-pocket health care burden exceeding 20 percent of family disposable income.

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Teaching Hospitals See Largest Number of Homeless Emergency Room Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ruirui Sun, Ph.D. AHRQ

Dr. Sun

Ruirui Sun, Ph.D.
AHRQ

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Homeless people are more likely than the members of the general public to use emergency department (ED) services, and it is usually at teaching hospitals when they seek medical care (Kushel et al., 2001; Bowdler and Barrell, 1987). This Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Statistical Brief studies patient characteristics, insurance coverage and clinical profile of the ED visits among homeless individuals by hospital teaching status, during 2014 from eight States (AZ, FL, GA, MA, MD, MO, NY, and WI).

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Trends in Opioid-Related Inpatient Stays Shifted After Switch to ICD-10 Coding

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anne Elixhauser, Ph.D. Senior Research Scientist Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Rockville MD 20857

Dr. Elixhauser

Anne Elixhauser, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Rockville MD 20857

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Hospital inpatient data began using ICD-10-CM (I-10) codes on October 1, 2015.  We have been doing analysis using the new codeset to determine to what extent we can follow trends crossing the ICD transition—do the trends look consistent when we switch from I-9 to I-10?  Tracking the opioid epidemic is a high priority so we made this one of our first detailed analyses.  We were surprised to find that hospital stays jumped 14% across the transition, compared to a 5% quarterly increase before the transition (under I-9) and a 3.5% quarterly increase after the transition (under I-10).  The largest increase (63.2%) was for adverse effects in therapeutic use (side effects of legal drugs), whereas stays involving opioid abuse decreased 21% and opioid poisoning (overdose) decreased 12.4%.

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Changes in Hospital Inpatient Stays Over Ten Years: Less Cardiac Care, More Mental Health and Sepsis Admissions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ruirui Sun, Service Fellow, Economist
Center for Delivery, Organization and Markets
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Hospital inpatient care has experienced changes due to factors such as population growth, rising of prevalence of chronic disease and efforts to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations. We generated information from the National Hospital Utilization and Costs path on Fast Stats (https://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/faststats/landing.jsp ), to present the trends on national hospitalization and costs from 2005 to 2014, as well as the most common diagnoses among inpatient stays over the 10-year period.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

  • Between 2005 and 2014, the inflation-adjusted mean cost per inpatient stay increased by 12.7 percent, from $9,500 to $10,900.
  • Inflation-adjusted cost per stay for patients covered by private insurance or Medicaid increased 16-18 percent. Cost per stay for Medicare-covered patients and the uninsured changed minimally.
  • The rate of inpatient stays decreased the most among patients in the highest income quartiles (15-20 percent decrease).
  • The proportion of Medicaid-covered inpatient stays increased by 15.7 percent, whereas the proportion paid by private insurance and that were uninsured decreased by 12.5 and 13.0 percent, respectively.
  • Mental health/substance use accounted for nearly 6 percent of all inpatient stays in 2014, up 20.1 percent from 2005.
  • Between 2005 and 2014, septicemia and osteoarthritis became two of the five most common reasons for inpatient stays. Septicemia hospital stays almost tripled.
  • Nonspecific chest pain and coronary atherosclerosis decreased by more than 60 percent from 2005 to 2014, falling off the list of top 10 reasons for hospitalization. 

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Heart Disease, Trauma and Diabetes Incur Highest Cost Per Person Medical Expenses

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anita Soni, PhD, MBA Survey Analyst/Statistician Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Dr. Anita Soni

Anita Soni, PhD, MBA
Survey Analyst/Statistician
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This statistical brief uses the data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), which collects a broad range of data related to the health care of the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population including health insurance coverage, the number and types of health care events and the sources of payment and payment amounts for those events. The survey also gathers information on which medical conditions are associated with the reported health care events. Condition-specific health care expenditure information derived from MEPS data is useful for policy makers in determining where to focus health policies to improve the quality and efficiency of the health care system from the perspective of disease treatment and management.

This Statistical Brief presents data regarding medical expenditures for nine conditions for which an estimated 10 percent or more of the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population (individuals age 18 and older) received health care in 2013.

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Hospitals With Rigorous Quality Improvement Programs Penalized In Star Ratings

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

John Oliver DeLancey, MD, MPH Resident, Department of Urology Research Fellow, Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Dr. John Oliver DeLancey

John Oliver DeLancey, MD, MPH
Resident, Department of Urology
Research Fellow, Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We initially looked at the star ratings for hospitals that we considered to provide excellent care, and it did not seem that this was reflected in the star ratings. Therefore, we sought to examine which factors were associated with the likelihood of receiving a high or low star rating.

When we examined these associations, we found that academic and community hospitals, who reported nearly all of the measures included, had disproportionally lower star ratings than Critical Access or Specialty hospitals, who reported on average about half of the measures used to generate the star ratings.

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Growing Insurance Coverage Did Not Reduce Access To Care For Those Already Insured

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Salam Abdus, Ph.D. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Dr. Salam Abdus

Salam Abdus, Ph.D.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: When the ACA was passed, some people were concerned that access to care for people who already had insurance would decrease because there would be so many newly insured people trying to get care.

To answer this question, we reviewed eight measures of access using data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) and the Census Bureaus’ American Community Survey for the period 2008-2014 to study if change in local area insurance rate affected access to care of adults who were continuously insured for two years. Access measures that we looked at include whether they had a usual source of care, were unable to receive necessary medical care, were delayed in receiving necessary medical care, had a physical exam in the past year, had blood pressure checked, had a flu shot, experienced delays getting a doctor appointment, and problems seeing a specialist.

We found no consistent evidence of negative impacts on continuously insured adults. We also looked at two subgroups of vulnerable adults: Medicaid beneficiaries and adults living in health professional shortage areas. For both continuously insured subgroups we found no consistent evidence of negative impacts.

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Family and Individuals Directly Pay Less Than 14% of US Health Care Expenditures

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Marie Stagnitti, M.P.A.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Household Component Project Officer/Senior Survey Statistician

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) – Household Component (HC) which began in 1996 and is administered annually collects data from a sample of families and individuals in selected communities across the United States, and is drawn from a nationally representative subsample of households that participated in the prior year’s National Health Interview Survey (conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics).

During the household interviews, MEPS collects detailed information for each person in the household on the following: demographic characteristics, health conditions, health status, use of medical services, charges and source of payments, access to care, satisfaction with care, health insurance coverage, income, and employment.

The panel design of the survey, which features several rounds of interviews covering two full calendar years, makes it possible to determine how changes in respondents’ health status, income, employment, eligibility for public and private insurance coverage, use of services, and payment for care are related. Continue reading

Out-of-Pocket Expenditures for Adults with Multiple Chronic Conditions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anita Soni, PhD, MBA
Survey Analyst/Statistician Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Rockville, MD

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This statistical brief uses the data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), which is a nationally representative survey of the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population that collects data on the demographic characteristics, health conditions, health status, use of medical care services, charges and payments, access to care, satisfaction with care, health insurance coverage, income, and employment of Americans.

This brief focuses on adults 18 and older who received some medical care in 2014. Persons who have multiple chronic conditions—those who were treated for two or more conditions considered to be chronic during 2014 — are compared to those who, while they had medical care, reported use associated with only one or no chronic conditions.  Continue reading

Drop in Adverse Drug Events Linked to Meaningful Use of Electronic Records

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Michael Furukawa, Ph.D.

Senior Economist
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Despite some progress, patient safety remains a serious concern in U.S. health care delivery, particularly in acute care hospitals. In part to support safety improvement, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act promoted widespread adoption and use of certified electronic health record technology. To meet Meaningful Use (MU) requirements in the law, hospitals are required to adopt specific capabilities, such as computerized physician order entry, which are expected to reduce errors and promote safer care.

We found that, after the HITECH Act was made law, the occurrence of in-hospital adverse drug events (ADEs) declined significantly from 2010 to 2013, a decline of 19%. Hospital adoption of medication-related MU capabilities was associated with 11% lower odds of ADEs occurring, but the effects did not vary by the number of years of experience with these capabilities. Interoperability capability was associated with 19% lower odds of adverse drug events occurring. Greater exposure to MU capabilities explained about one-fifth of the observed reduction in ADEs.

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Opioid Emergencies Increased Almost 100% in Some States

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Claudia Steiner, M.D., MPH.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Rockville, MD

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has a longstanding project and partnership, The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP, pronounced “H-Cup”). HCUP is a family of health care databases and related software tools and products developed through a Federal-State-Industry partnership. HCUP databases bring together the data collection efforts of State data organizations, hospital associations, and private data organizations (HCUP Partners) and the Federal government to create a national information resource of encounter-level health care data. HCUP includes the largest collection of longitudinal hospital care data in the United States, with all-payer, encounter-level information. These databases enable research on a broad range of health policy issues, including cost and quality of health services, medical practice patterns, access to health care programs, and outcomes of treatments at the national, State, and local market levels.

The HCUP Partners recognized the urgency of providing descriptive statistics to help inform the growing opioid epidemic in the U.S., and therefore agreed to supporting this statistical brief as well as the Opioid-Related Hospital Use path on Fast Stats: http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/faststats/landing.jsp

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Health Care Spending Highly Concentrated Among a Small Group of People

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Emily Mitchell, Ph.D., Statistician Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Emily Mitchell,

Emily Mitchell, Ph.D., Statistician
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The data for this study come from the Household Component of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS-HC), a nationally representative survey that is conducted annually by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The survey collects detailed information on health care utilization and expenditures, health insurance, and health status, as well as a wide variety of social, demographic, and economic characteristics for the U.S. civilian non-institutionalized population.

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Cesarean Section Rates Vary Across US Hospitals

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kamila Mistry, PhD MPH
AHRQ

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Although the overall cesarean section (C-section) rate in the United States has declined slightly in recent years, nearly a third of all births continue to be delivered by C-section—higher than in many other industrialized countries. A number of medical as well as nonmedical factors may contribute to high C-section rates.

C-section is the most common surgical procedure performed in the United States. This operation carries additional risks compared with vaginal delivery, such as infection and postoperative pain. A C-section also may make it more difficult for the mother to establish breastfeeding and may complicate subsequent pregnancies.

Consensus guidelines from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other national efforts to improve perinatal care have shown promise in reducing nonmedically indicated C-sections. However, recent research has found wide variation in hospital C-section rates even for low-risk deliveries.
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AHRQ Studies Find Large Declines in Number of Uninsured Adults

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jessica Vistnes, Ph.D.
Senior Economist, Center for Financing, Access and Cost Trends
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey – Household Component (MEPS-HC), sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), is one of the few sources of nationally representative data that can assess changes in the percentage of Americans gaining and losing health insurance coverage between 2013 and 2014, the first year that many provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were implemented. The MEPS-HC is also one of the few data sources that can be used to assess changes in the rates at which Americans are uninsured for a full calendar year. Three new AHRQ studies use data from the MEPS-HC and show large declines from 2013 to 2014 in the percentage of non-elderly adults who were uninsured throughout the calendar year. They also show large increases in the likelihood of gaining health care coverage from 2013-2014 compared to 2012-2013 across demographic groups defined by age, race/ethnicity and education.

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Infections, Newborns and Heart Attacks Among Most Expensive Health Care Costs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Celeste M. Torio, Ph.D., M.P.H Scientific Review Officer AHRQ

Dr. Celeste Torio

Celeste M. Torio, Ph.D., M.P.H
Scientific Review Officer
AHRQ

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Torio: Hospital care expenditures constitute the largest single component of health care spending. These expenses are of significant concern to policymakers because of their impact on governments, consumers and insurers.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

• Aggregate hospital costs for 35.6 million hospital stays totaled $381.4 billion in 2013.
• Septicemia, osteoarthritis, newborn infants, complication of device, and acute myocardial infarction are the five most expensive conditions, and account for 1/5 of the total aggregate costs for hospitalizations.
• Sixty-three percent of aggregate hospital costs were covered by Medicare and Medicaid, while 28 percent were covered by private insurance and 5 percent were covered by the uninsured.

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Fully Integrated Electronic Records Linked to Fewer Inpatient Adverse Effects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mr. Noel Eldridge Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Mr. Noel Eldridge

Mr. Noel Eldridge
Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Mr. Eldridge: We used existing data on adverse events from the Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System, which AHRQ, CMS, and Qualidigm have been analyzing for years, and focused on the question as to whether rates of the adverse event measures were higher or lower in patients whose charts indicated that they had been treated with a full electronic health record (EHR) or a partial EHR during their inpatient stay.

The main finding was that the adverse event rates were lower in the full EHR patients. We saw three different diagnosis groups of patients (cardiovascular, pneumonia, and major surgery), and looked at combined rates for all adverse event types, as well as for four combined subtypes separately: hospital-acquired infections, adverse drug events, post-procedural events, and falls and pressure ulcers combined. Not all of our findings were what people unfamiliar with our measures would have expected.

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Little Shift To Part Time Work As A Result of ACA So Far

Asako Moriya, Ph.D. Service economist Center for Financing, Access and Cost Trends Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Rockville, Maryland

Dr. Asako Moriya

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Asako Moriya, Ph.D
.
Service economist
Center for Financing, Access and Cost Trends
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
Rockville, Maryland 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Moriya: While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has increased insurance coverage and improved access to care among millions of Americans, the law’s potential impacts on the labor market are also important policy considerations. There was speculation that employers would reduce work hours to avoid the ACA employer mandate and also that ACA coverage expansion through Medicaid and the Health Insurance Marketplace would create work disincentives. We wanted to test these speculations using data from a nationally representative sample of approximately 60,000 households interviewed monthly up until June 2015.

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AHRQ Study Finds Racial/Ethnic Groups Specifically Targeted By ACA

Kamila B. Mistry, PhD MPH Senior Advisor, Child Health and Quality Improvement Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality US Department of Health and Human Services Rockville, MD 20857

Dr. Kamila Mistry

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kamila B. Mistry, PhD MPH

Senior Advisor, Child Health and Quality Improvement
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
US Department of Health and Human Services
Rockville, MD 20857 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Mistry: This study, conducted by researchers at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), was seeking to explore what impact the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may have on the nation’s well-documented racial/ethnic disparities in insurance coverage, access to medical care, and preventive services utilization. We used pre-ACA (2005-2010) household data from AHRQ’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to examine patterns of coverage, access, and utilization, by race/ethnicity, for nonelderly adults who are targeted by ACA coverage expansion provisions.

Our analysis found that racial/ethnic minorities were disproportionately represented among groups targeted by the ACA. We also found that targeted groups had lower rates of coverage, access, and preventive services utilization, and some racial/ethnic disparities were widest within these groups.

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Schizophrenia, Chest Pain Top Longest Emergency Department Stays

Ernest Moy, MD, MPH Medical Officer Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Agency for Healthcare Research and QualityMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ernest Moy, MD, MPH
Medical Officer
Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Moy: The amount of time that a patient spends in the emergency department (ED) has become increasingly viewed as a quality measure, because length of stay and ED crowding have been linked to quality of care, patient safety, and treatment outcomes. However, current ED length-of-stay measures publicly reported by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) combine lengths of stay across all conditions. We suspected that ED length of stay is influenced by the clinical condition of the patient, but didn’t know how disparate times might be. Of course, such stays will certainly be influenced by other factors, which we describe in the paper. Previous studies have helped guide decisions about where to focus resources to improve emergency department services. However, many studies about ED length of stay focus on a single condition, a single or few hospitals, or both, which limits what we can conclude across different conditions.  We were fortunate to find one state, Florida, in the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project database that provides entry and exit times for a census of emergency department visits for both released and admitted patients to measure length of ED stays by patients’ conditions and dispositions.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Moy: For the 10 most common diagnoses, patients with relatively minor injuries (e.g., sprains and strains, superficial injuries and contusions, skin and subcutaneous tissue infections, open wounds of the extremities) typically required the shortest mean stays (3 hours or less). Conditions involving pain with nonspecific or unclear etiologies (e.g., chest, abdomen, or back pain; headache, including migraine), generally resulted in mean stays of 4 hours or more. However, there were substantial clinical differences among patients released, admitted, and transferred. Conditions resulting in admission or transfer tended to be more serious, resulting in longer stays. Patients requiring the longest stays, by disposition, had discharge diagnoses of nonspecific chest pain (mean 7.4 hours among discharged patients), urinary tract infections (4.8 hours among admissions), and schizophrenia (9.6 hours among transfers) among the top 10 diagnoses.

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Hospital Improvements Have Led To Marked Decreased In Inpatient Mortality Over Ten Years

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kevin Heslin, Ph.D.
, Staff Service Fellow, Center for Delivery, Organization and Markets, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Heslin: Previous trends in inpatient mortality suggest that rates have been decreasing for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), congestive heart failure (CHF), stroke, and pneumonia (Hines et al., 2010; Stepanova et al., 2013).  Continued study of these trends can help researchers and policymakers assess the impact of health care quality efforts.  Further, examining trends across patient and hospital subgroups may inform strategies for addressing disparities in health care quality by identifying groups that are leading and lagging in improvement.

Medical Research: What is the background for this study

Dr. Heslin: From 2002 to 2012, inpatient mortality decreased among patients admitted to U.S. hospitals for pneumonia (45 percent decrease, from 65.0 to 35.8 deaths per 1,000 admissions), AMI (41 percent decrease, from 94.0 to 55.9 deaths per 1,000 admissions), CHF (29 percent decrease, from 44.4 to 31.4 deaths per 1,000 admissions), and stroke (27 percent decrease, from 112.6 to 82.6 deaths per 1,000 admissions).  The inpatient mortality rate for all four conditions decreased among both younger and older patients, and among men and women.

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5% of US Population Accounts For 50% of Health Care Costs

 

H. Joanna Jiang, Ph.D. Agency for Healthcare Research and QualityMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
H. Joanna Jiang, Ph.D.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Jiang: A large proportion of health care resources in the United States are consumed by a relatively small number of individuals, who have been dubbed super-utilizers. Approximately 25% of U.S. health care expenses are incurred by 1% of the U.S. population, and 50% of expenses are incurred by 5% of the population.

Our study found that across all types of payers of medical care (Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance), super-utilizers on average had approximately 4 times as many hospital stays as other patients, and the 30-day hospital readmission rate for super-utilizers was 4 to 8 times higher than for other patients. Among Medicaid and privately insured patients, super-utilizers had longer hospital stays and higher average hospital costs than other patients.

We also found that patients with multiple chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and congestive heart failure, accounted for a greater share of hospital stays among super-utilizers than among other hospitalized patients. Mental health and substance use disorders were among the top 10 principal diagnoses for super-utilizers aged 1 to 64 years regardless of payer.

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High-Performance Work Practices Can Reduce Central Line Infections

Ann Scheck McAlearney, Sc.D., M.S. Professor, Family Medicine Vice Chair for Research, Department of Family Medicine College of Medicine Ohio State University Columbus, OhioMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ann Scheck McAlearney, Sc.D., M.S.
Professor, Family Medicine
Vice Chair for Research, Department of Family Medicine
College of Medicine Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. McAlearney: In this study, we sought to explore the potential role high-performance work practices (HPWPs) may play in explaining differences in the success of central line-associated blood stream infection (CLABSI) reduction efforts involving otherwise similar organizations and approaches. We analyzed data from 194 key informant interviews across eight hospitals participating in the federally funded ‘‘On the CUSP: Stop BSI’’ initiative. We found evidence that at sites more successful at reducing central line-associated blood stream infection, HPWPs facilitated the adoption and consistent application of practices known to prevent CLABSIs; these HPWPs were virtually absent at lower performing sites.

In this paper we present examples of management practices and illustrative quotes categorized into four HPWP subsystems:
(a) staff engagement,
(b) staff acquisition/development,
c) frontline empowerment, and
(d) leadership alignment/development. Continue reading

No Knee-Jerk Antibiotics Campaign Aims To Reduce Antibiotic Overusage

Barbara W. Trautner, MD, PhD Houston Veterans Affairs Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TexasMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Barbara W. Trautner, MD, PhD
Houston Veterans Affairs Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Section of Infectious Diseases
Department of Medicine
Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Trautner: Reducing antimicrobial overuse, or antimicrobial stewardship, is a national imperative. If we fail to optimize and limit use of these precious resources, we may lose effective antimicrobial therapy in the future. CDC estimates that more than $1 billion is spent on unnecessary antibiotics annually, and that drug-resistant pathogens cause 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. The use of antibiotics to treat asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB) is a significant contributor to antibiotic overuse in hospitalized and nursing home patients, especially among patients with urinary catheters. In catheterized patients, ASB is very often misdiagnosed and treated as catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI). Therefore, we designed the “Kicking CAUTI: The No Knee-Jerk Antibiotics Campaign intervention” to reduce overtreatment of ASB and to reduce the confusion about distinguishing CAUTI from asymptomatic bacteriuria.

This study evaluated the effectiveness of the Kicking CAUTI intervention in two VAMCs between July 2010 and June 2013. The primary outcomes were urine cultures ordered per 1,000 bed-days (inappropriate screening for ASB) and cases of ASB receiving antibiotics (overtreatment). The study included 289,754 total bed days, with 170,345 at the intervention site and 119,409 at the comparison site. Through this campaign, researchers were able to dramatically decrease the number of urine cultures ordered. At the intervention site, the total number of urine cultures ordered decreased by 71 percent over the course of the intervention. Antibiotic treatment of asymptomatic bacteriuria decreased by more than 75 percent during the study. No significant changes occurred at the comparison site over the same time period. Failure to treat catheter-associated urinary tract infection when indicated did not increase at either site. Continue reading

CDC Discusses Best Practices and Resources For Childhood ADHD

Susanna N. Visser, DrPH Epidemiologist at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities CDCMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Susanna N. Visser, DrPH

Epidemiologist at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
CDC

 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Visser: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD is one of the most common chronic conditions of childhood. It often persists into adulthood.   When children diagnosed with ADHD receive proper treatment, they have the best chance of thriving at home, doing well at school, and making and keeping friends.

In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated their guidelines for ADHD treatment. The new guidelines give this advice to healthcare providers, psychologists, educators, and parents of children with ADHD:

  • For preschoolers ages 4-5 with ADHD, use behavioral therapy before medication.
  • For older children and teens with ADHD, use behavioral therapy along with medication.

In order to learn more about ADHD treatment patterns, CDC researchers looked at data from a national sample of children with special health care needs, ages 4-17 years, collected in 2009-10 just before the release of the 2011 guidelines.

We found that most children with ADHD received either medication treatment or behavioral therapy. However, we also found that many children were not receiving treatment in the way it was outlined in the 2011 best practice guidelines.

  • Less than 1 in 3 children with ADHD received both medication treatment and behavioral therapy, the preferred treatment approach for children ages 6 and older.
  • Only half of preschoolers (4-5 years of age) with ADHD received behavioral therapy, which is now the recommended first-line treatment for this group.
  • About half of preschoolers with ADHD were taking medication for ADHD, and about 1 in 4 were treated only with medication.

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Back Pain: Early Imaging Of Older Adults Results in More Costs, Not Better Outcomes

Jeffrey (Jerry) G. Jarvik MD MPH Professor, Radiology, Neurological Surgery and Health Services Adjunct Professor, Pharmacy and Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Director, Comparative Effectiveness, Cost and Outcomes Research Center University of Washington Seattle, WA  98104-2499MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jeffrey (Jerry) G. Jarvik MD MPH
Professor, Radiology, Neurological Surgery and Health Services
Adjunct Professor, Pharmacy and Orthopedics & Sports Medicine
Director, Comparative Effectiveness, Cost and Outcomes Research Center University of Washington Seattle, WA

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Jarvik: 
When I arrived at the Univ of WA over 20 years ago, my mentor, Rick Deyo, had just finished leading a project that was responsible for developing one of the first set of guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of acute low back pain. These guidelines, published in a booklet by AHRQ (then called AHCPR), recommended that patients with acute low back pain not undergo imaging for 4-6 weeks unless a red flag was present. One of the exceptions was that patients older than 50 could get imaged immediately, the rationale being that older adults had a higher prevalence of potentially serious conditions such as cancer, infections, etc, that would justify the early imaging. As a practicing neuroradiologist, it was clear that a potential problem with this strategy is that the prevalence of age-related changes, which may or may not be related to back pain, also increases with age. So earlier imaging of older adults would almost certainly reveal findings, and these could easily start a series of unfortunate events leading to potentially poor outcomes and more healthcare resource use. Thus this policy of early imaging of older adults didn’t entirely make sense.

About 5 years ago, these guidelines hit home when I developed acute low back pain and since I was over 50 (barely) my doctor recommended that I get an imaging study. Being a knowledgeable patient and having a reasonable doctor, we mutually agreed not to get the study. I improved but that wasn’t the end of it. When we had the chance to apply for one of the CHOICE ARRA awards funded by AHRQ, we made answering this question of early imaging in older adults one of our primary goals.

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