North Carolina Uses AHRQ Quality Indicators to Inform Medicaid Decisions

January 2009

The North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance produces "County-Specific Snapshots for NC Medicaid Services" to show county-level information for a multitude of data variables, including AHRQ Quality Indicator (QI) measures. The information was originally created for State lawmakers and distributed at the beginning of each legislative session to help them make informed decisions about the counties they represent. Now it is used by many other groups as well.

"We have heard from local and State agencies, county departments of social services, newspaper reporters, various project teams, and the general public," notes Angie Yow, Nurse Manager, Quality, Evaluation and Health Outcomes Unit, at the North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance.

Because the information is available for viewing on the State's Web site, many people are referencing it-not just locally, but statewide and nationwide, too. "We are receiving positive feedback that the data have been very valuable," she says.

The State's information includes the following AHRQ QI measures:

  • Diabetes short-term complication admission rate.
  • Diabetes long-term complication admission rate.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease admission rate.
  • Congestive heart failure admission rate.
  • Adult asthma admission rate.
  • Pediatric asthma admission rate.

Data variables help paint a picture of the population in each county, including the financial atmosphere, the services the Medicaid population is using, and the quality of care being delivered by looking at outcomes.The AHRQ QI measures are compared to the state mean and rate. A chart easily identifies counties which fall above or below one standard deviation for the state rate. State officials chose not to publish data where the numerator was less than 10 to protect patients' private health information.

This information has been produced and disseminated since 2006, and it will be produced annually. It may be viewed at

The North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance includes Medicaid and Health Choice for Children, the State's insurance program for children.

Information about AHRQ's Quality Indicators can be found at

Impact Case Study Identifier: 
AHRQ Product(s): HCUP-Prevention Quality Indicators, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP)
Topics(s): Policy, Quality
Geographic Location: North Carolina
Implementer: North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance
Date: 01/01/2009
Page last reviewed October 2014