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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