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Research Studies is a monthly compilation of research articles funded by AHRQ or authored by AHRQ researchers and recently published in journals or newsletters.
Results1 to 25 of 470 Research Studies Displayed
McInerney M, Mellor JM, Sabik LM. M, Mellor JM, Sabik LM
Welcome mats and on-ramps for older adults: the impact of the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid Expansions on Dual Enrollment in Medicare and Medicaid.
The authors examined whether Medicaid participation by low-income adults age 65 and up increased as a result of Medicaid expansions to working-age adults under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Using American Community Survey data and state variation in ACA Medicaid expansions, they found that Medicaid expansions to working-age adults increased Medicaid participation among low-income older adults by 4.4 percent. They also found evidence of an “on-ramp” effect, which is an important mechanism behind welcome mat effects among some older adults.
Citation: McInerney M, Mellor JM, Sabik LM. M, Mellor JM, Sabik LM . Welcome mats and on-ramps for older adults: the impact of the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid Expansions on Dual Enrollment in Medicare and Medicaid. J Policy Anal Manage 2021 Win;40(1):12-41. doi: 10.1002/pam.22259..
Keywords: Elderly, Medicaid, Medicare, Low-Income, Health Insurance, Policy
Smulowitz PB, O'Malley AJ, McWilliams JM
Variation in rates of hospital admission from the emergency department among Medicare patients at the regional, hospital, and physician levels.
Rates of admission from the emergency department (ED) vary widely across regions of the country, hospitals within regions, and physicians within hospitals. The study objective was to determine the extent to which variation in admission decisions was described by differences in admission rates at these 3 levels. The investigators concluded that within-area variation, both across hospitals within a region and across physicians within a hospital, was a more substantial component of observed variation in admission rates from the ED than regional level variation.
Citation: Smulowitz PB, O'Malley AJ, McWilliams JM . Variation in rates of hospital admission from the emergency department among Medicare patients at the regional, hospital, and physician levels. Ann Emerg Med 2021 Oct;78(4):474-83. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2021.03.020..
Keywords: Medicare, Hospitalization, Emergency Department, Practice Patterns
Arntson E, Dimick JB, Nuliyalu U
Changes in hospital-acquired conditions and mortality associated with the hospital-acquired condition reduction program.
This study evaluated changes in Hospital-Acquired Conditions (HACs) and 30-day mortality after the announcement of the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services’ Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program (HACRP) in August 2013. The authors evaluated models to test for changes in HACs and 30-day mortality before and after the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and after the HACRP. Fee-for-service Medicare claims from 2009 to 2015 were used. The HAC rate declined after the ACA was passed and declined further after the HACRP announcement. However, 30-day mortality rates were unchanged.
Citation: Arntson E, Dimick JB, Nuliyalu U . Changes in hospital-acquired conditions and mortality associated with the hospital-acquired condition reduction program. Ann Surg 2021 Oct 1;274(4):e301-e07. doi: 10.1097/sla.0000000000003641..
Keywords: Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs), Hospitals, Mortality, Medicare, Payment, Prevention, Patient Safety
Hua CL, Thomas KS, Bunker J
Changes in the agreement between the Minimum Data Set and hospital Medicare claims measures of dementia.
The objective of this study was to examine the agreement between a clinical Minimum Data Set measure of dementia and a diagnosis of dementia documented on a hospital claim across three points in time. A second objective was to examine the extent to which the agreement varied by age, sex, and race/ethnicity. Findings showed that hospital claims for patients aged 66–75 were less likely to be accurate than those for other age groups and suggests that physicians do not always look for signs of dementia in younger adults. Additionally, Asian patients were less likely to have a diagnosis of dementia documented during hospitalization, which could be related to language barriers between patients and clinicians.
Citation: Hua CL, Thomas KS, Bunker J . Changes in the agreement between the Minimum Data Set and hospital Medicare claims measures of dementia. J Am Geriatr Soc 2021 Sep;69(9):2672-75. doi: 10.1111/jgs.17201..
Keywords: Elderly, Dementia, Neurological Disorders, Diagnosis, Medicare
Luo Z, Gritz M, Connelly L
A survey of primary care practices on their use of the intensive behavioral therapy for obese Medicare patients.
The objective of this study was to fill the gap in knowledge on systematic differences between primary care practices (PCP) that do or do not provide intensive behavioral therapy (IBT) for obese Medicare patients. The investigators concluded that although the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services established payment codes for PCPs to deliver IBT for obesity in 2011, very few providers submitted fee-for-service claims for these services after almost 10 years.
Citation: Luo Z, Gritz M, Connelly L . A survey of primary care practices on their use of the intensive behavioral therapy for obese Medicare patients. J Gen Intern Med 2021 Sep;36(9):2700-08. doi: 10.1007/s11606-021-06596-w..
Keywords: Primary Care, Obesity, Behavioral Health, Medicare, Elderly
Nederveld A, Phimphasone-Brady P, Connelly L
The joys and challenges of delivering obesity care: a qualitative study of US primary care practices.
The authors sought to explore the experience of providing obesity management among primary care clinicians and their team members involved with weight loss in primary care practices. They identified three primary themes: (1) clinicians and staff involved in obesity management in primary care believe that addressing obesity is an essential part of primary care services, (2) because providing obesity care can be challenging, many practices opt out of treatment, and (3) despite the challenges, many clinicians and others find treating obesity feasible, satisfying, and worthwhile. The authors concluded that, in order to improve the ability of clinicians and practice members to treat obesity, important changes in payment, education, and work processes are necessary.
Citation: Nederveld A, Phimphasone-Brady P, Connelly L . The joys and challenges of delivering obesity care: a qualitative study of US primary care practices. J Gen Intern Med 2021 Sep;36(9):2709-16. doi: 10.1007/s11606-020-06548-w..
Keywords: Obesity, Obesity: Weight Management, Primary Care, Medicare
Roberts ET, Glynn A, Donohue JM
The relationship between take-up of prescription drug subsidies and Medicaid among low-income Medicare beneficiaries.
In this study, the investigators examined take-up of the Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) and Medicaid among Medicare beneficiaries who qualified for both programs. They went beyond prior analyses that reported average enrollment by program by 1.) examining whether LIS take-up mirrored Medicaid enrollment at income levels where individuals qualified for limited Medicaid benefits that had low take-up rates and 2.) highlighting opportunities for policy reforms to increase participation in both programs.
Citation: Roberts ET, Glynn A, Donohue JM . The relationship between take-up of prescription drug subsidies and Medicaid among low-income Medicare beneficiaries. J Gen Intern Med 2021 Sep;36(9):2873-76. doi: 10.1007/s11606-020-06241-y..
Keywords: Medicaid, Medicare, Medication, Low-Income, Health Insurance
Markovitz AA, Ayanian JZ, Warrier A
Medicare Advantage plan double bonuses drive racial disparity in payments, yield no quality or enrollment improvements.
Using national data for 2008-18, investigators found that double bonuses were not associated with either improvements in plan quality or increased Medicare Advantage enrollment. Additionally, double bonuses increased payments to plans to care for Black beneficiaries by $60 per year, compared with $91 for White beneficiaries. These findings suggest that double bonuses not only fail to improve quality and enrollment but also foster a racially inequitable distribution of Medicare funds that disfavors Black beneficiaries. This study supports eliminating double bonuses, thereby saving Medicare an estimated $1.8 billion per year.
Citation: Markovitz AA, Ayanian JZ, Warrier A . Medicare Advantage plan double bonuses drive racial disparity in payments, yield no quality or enrollment improvements. Health Aff 2021 Sep;40(9):1411-19. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2021.00349..
Keywords: Medicare, Health Insurance, Payment, Quality Improvement, Quality of Care, Disparities, Racial / Ethnic Minorities
Reid RO, Mafi JN, Baseman LH
Waste in the Medicare program: a national cross-sectional analysis of 2017 low-value service use and spending.
Low-value health care services offer patients little to no clinical benefit, increase spending, and may cause patient harm. In this analysis, the investigators provided updated national estimates of low-value service use and spending in Medicare in 2017. The investigators concluded that their findings suggest that targeted interventions to reduce low-value services—particularly the narrow subset responsible for the majority of spending—could substantially reduce wasteful Medicare spending.
Citation: Reid RO, Mafi JN, Baseman LH . Waste in the Medicare program: a national cross-sectional analysis of 2017 low-value service use and spending. J Gen Intern Med 2021 Aug;36(8):2478-82. doi: 10.1007/s11606-020-06061-0..
Keywords: Medicare, Value, Healthcare Costs
Olfson M, Stroup TS, Huang C
Suicide risk in Medicare patients with schizophrenia across the life span.
The purpose of this study was to describe suicide mortality rates and correlates among adults with schizophrenia across the life span and standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) for suicide compared with the general US population. The investigators concluded that in this cohort study of adult Medicare patients with schizophrenia, suicide risk was elevated, with the highest absolute and relative risk among young adults. They indicated that these patterns supported suicide prevention efforts with a focus on young adults with schizophrenia, especially those with suicidal symptoms and substance use.
Citation: Olfson M, Stroup TS, Huang C . Suicide risk in Medicare patients with schizophrenia across the life span. JAMA Psychiatry 2021 Aug;78(8):876-85. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2021.0841..
Keywords: Medicare, Behavioral Health
Hoffman GJ, U U, Bynum J
Alzheimer's disease and related dementias and episode spending under Medicare's Bundled Payment for Care Improvements Advanced (BPCI-A).
Investigators evaluated the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) across the episodes included in Medicare's Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced (BPCI-A) program and the association between ADRD and 90-day spending among hospitals participating in the BPCI-A program. They found that ADRD is associated with higher episode spending, highlighting the importance of closely monitoring the experience of these patients under BPCI-A to ensure that they are receiving appropriate care. This is particularly important for episodes like sepsis and pneumonia that are common among patients with ADRD and also highly prevalent under BPCI-A.
Citation: Hoffman GJ, U U, Bynum J . Alzheimer's disease and related dementias and episode spending under Medicare's Bundled Payment for Care Improvements Advanced (BPCI-A). J Gen Intern Med 2021 Aug;36(8):2499-502. doi: 10.1007/s11606-020-06348-2..
Keywords: Elderly, Dementia, Medicare, Payment
Moloci NM, Si Y, Norton EC
Predicting losses from Medicare Shared Savings Program departures.
Researchers conducted an observational study to understand how accountable care organization (ACO) exit could affect Shared Savings Program (SSP) financial performance. They found that nearly 80% of ACOs were still active at the end of 2016. Among the subset that faced contract renewal in 2019, 40% were known to have exited the SSP. By 2022, ACOs that exited in 2019 could cost the SSP $186.9 million in lost savings. If the exit rate observed in 2019 continues, the SSP could suffer $396.8 million in lost savings by 2022.
AHRQ-funded; HS024525; HS024728.
Citation: Moloci NM, Si Y, Norton EC . Predicting losses from Medicare Shared Savings Program departures. J Gen Intern Med 2021 Aug;36(8):2490-91. doi: 10.1007/s11606-020-06424-7..
Keywords: Medicare, Health Insurance, Healthcare Costs
Do Medicare's facility fees incentivize hospitals to vertically integrate with oncologists?
Within the past decade, the U.S. health care market has undergone massive vertical integration, prompting economists to study the underlying causes and consequences of hospital-physician integration. This paper examined whether or not hospitals strategically chose to vertically integrate with clinical oncologists in order to capture facility fees, a commonly cited reason for increased consolidation in the health care market.
Citation: Valdez S . Do Medicare's facility fees incentivize hospitals to vertically integrate with oncologists? Inquiry 2021 Jan-Dec;58:469580211022968. doi: 10.1177/00469580211022968..
Keywords: Medicare, Hospitals, Provider: Physician
Barbash IJ, Davis BS, Yabes JG
Treatment patterns and clinical outcomes after the introduction of the Medicare Sepsis Performance Measure (SEP-1).
This study evaluated the effect of Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock Early Management Bundle (SEP-1) on treatment patterns and patient outcomes. Findings showed that, two years after its implementation, SEP-1 was associated with variable changes in process measures, with the greatest effect being an increase in lactate measurement within 3 hours of sepsis onset. There were small increases in antibiotic administration and fluid administration, a small increase in ICU admissions, and no changes in mortality or discharge to home.
Citation: Barbash IJ, Davis BS, Yabes JG . Treatment patterns and clinical outcomes after the introduction of the Medicare Sepsis Performance Measure (SEP-1). Ann Intern Med 2021 Jul;174(7):927-35. doi: 10.7326/m20-5043..
Keywords: Sepsis, Medicare, Outcomes, Quality Measures, Quality of Care
Roberts ET, James AE, Sabik LM
Modernizing Medicaid coverage for Medicare beneficiaries with low income.
Medicaid serves as a supplemental insurer for eleven million low-income Medicare beneficiaries, known as duals. For these beneficiaries, Medicaid pays for Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs, including premiums, deductibles and coinsurance. This paper examined opportunities to close these gaps in Medicaid coverage and discussed how these reforms could complement other efforts to modernize Medicaid for low-income Medicare beneficiaries.
Citation: Roberts ET, James AE, Sabik LM . Modernizing Medicaid coverage for Medicare beneficiaries with low income. JAMA Health Forum 2021 Jun;2(6). doi: 10.1001/jamahealthforum.2021.0989..
Keywords: Medicaid, Medicare, Low-Income, Health Insurance, Policy
Fung V, McCarthy S, Price M
Payment discrepancies and access to primary care physicians for dual-eligible Medicare-Medicaid beneficiaries.
This study examined whether the Affordable Care Act (ACA) primary care fee bump for dual-eligible Medicare-Medicaid beneficiaries impacted primary care physicians (PCP) acceptance of duals. The authors assessed differences in the likelihood that PCPs had dual caseloads of ≥10% or 20% in states with lower versus full dual reimbursement using linear probability models adjusted for physician and area-level traits. The proportion of PCPs with dual caseloads of ≥10% or 20% decreased significantly between 2012 and 2017. The fee bump was not consistently associated with increases in dual caseloads.
Citation: Fung V, McCarthy S, Price M . Payment discrepancies and access to primary care physicians for dual-eligible Medicare-Medicaid beneficiaries. Med Care 2021 Jun;59(6):487-94. doi: 10.1097/mlr.0000000000001525..
Keywords: Primary Care, Medicaid, Medicare, Health Insurance, Payment, Access to Care
Medbery RL, Fernandez FG, Kosinski AS
Costs associated with lobectomy for lung cancer: an analysis merging STS and Medicare data.
Researchers sought to identify underlying case mix factors that contribute to variability of 90-day costs of lobectomy for early-stage lung cancer. Using the Society of Thoracic Surgeons General Thoracic Surgery Database, they found that lobectomy is associated with substantial variability of episode-of-care costs. Variability is driven by patient demographic and clinical factors, hospital characteristics, and the occurrence and severity of complications.
AHRQ-funded; R01 HS022279.
Citation: Medbery RL, Fernandez FG, Kosinski AS . Costs associated with lobectomy for lung cancer: an analysis merging STS and Medicare data. Ann Thorac Surg 2021 Jun;111(6):1781-90. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2020.08.073..
Keywords: Cancer: Lung Cancer, Cancer, Healthcare Costs, Surgery, Elderly, Medicare
Roberts ET, Desai SM
Does Medicaid coverage of Medicare cost sharing affect physician care for dual-eligible Medicare beneficiaries?
The objective of this paper was to assess changes in physicians' provision of care to duals (low-income individuals with Medicare and Medicaid) in response to a policy that required Medicaid to fully pay Medicare's cost sharing for office visits with these patients. This policy-a provision of the Affordable Care Act-effectively increased payments for office visits with duals by 0%-20%, depending on the state, in 2013 and 2014.
AHRQ-funded; HS026727; HS026980.
Citation: Roberts ET, Desai SM . Does Medicaid coverage of Medicare cost sharing affect physician care for dual-eligible Medicare beneficiaries? Health Serv Res 2021 Jun;56(3):528-39. doi: 10.1111/1475-6773.13650..
Keywords: Medicare, Medicaid, Health Insurance, Access to Care, Healthcare Costs, Low-Income
Lyu PF, Chernew ME, McWilliams JM
Soft consolidation In Medicare ACOs: potential for higher prices without mergers or acquisitions.
Using commercial claims and data on health system membership and Medicare accountable care organizations (ACOs) participation, investigators found some abrupt, large price increases for independent primary care practices that joined health system-led ACOs but were not acquired by systems. These price jumps were rare, however, increasing prices by just 4 percent, on average, among all independent practices in system-led ACOs. The price jumps were more consistent with an extension of existing pricing power from systems to some independent practices than with a major expansion of system market power.
AHRQ-funded; HS024072; HS027531.
Citation: Lyu PF, Chernew ME, McWilliams JM . Soft consolidation In Medicare ACOs: potential for higher prices without mergers or acquisitions. Health Aff 2021 Jun;40(6):979-88. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2020.02449..
Keywords: Medicare, Health Insurance, Healthcare Costs
Smith JM, Lin H, Thomas-Hawkins C
Timing of home health care initiation and 30-day rehospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes by race and ethnicity.
Older adults with diabetes are at elevated risk of complications following hospitalization. Home health care services mitigate the risk of adverse events and facilitate a safe transition home. In the United States, when home health care services are prescribed, federal guidelines require they begin within two days of hospital discharge. This study examined the association between timing of home health care initiation and 30-day rehospitalization outcomes in a cohort of 786,734 Medicare beneficiaries following a diabetes-related index hospitalization admission during 2015.
Citation: Smith JM, Lin H, Thomas-Hawkins C . Timing of home health care initiation and 30-day rehospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes by race and ethnicity. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 May 25;18(11). doi: 10.3390/ijerph18115623..
Keywords: Elderly, Home Healthcare, Hospital Readmissions, Medicare, Diabetes, Chronic Conditions, Racial / Ethnic Minorities
Whaley CM, Zhao X, Richards M
Higher Medicare spending on imaging and lab services after primary care physician group vertical integration.
This study looked at the impact of direct ownership of physician practices by hospitals and health systems (vertical integration) on Medicare spending for imaging and lab services. A 100% sample of 2013-16 Medicare fee-for-service claims data was examined to determine if vertical integration was associated with changes in site of care and Medicare reimbursement rates for ten common diagnostic imaging and laboratory services. After vertical integration, the monthly number of diagnostic imaging tests per 1,000 attributed beneficiaries increased in a hospital setting by 26.3 per 1000, and the number performed in a nonhospital setting decreased by 24.8 per 1,000. Hospital-based laboratory tests increased by 44.5 per 1,000 and non-hospital-based laboratory tests decreased by 36.0 per 1,000. Average Medicare reimbursement rose by $6.38 for imaging tests and $0.57 for laboratory tests. This translates to $40.2 million increase for imaging and $32.9 million increase for laboratory tests in Medicare spending for the study period.
Citation: Whaley CM, Zhao X, Richards M . Higher Medicare spending on imaging and lab services after primary care physician group vertical integration. Health Aff 2021 May;40(5):702-09. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2020.01006..
Keywords: Medicare, Healthcare Costs, Imaging, Primary Care
Hua CL, Cornell PY, Zimmerman S
Trends in serious mental illness in US assisted living compared to nursing homes and the community: 2007-2017.
This study examined trends in the prevalence of serious mental illness (SMI) in assisted living (AL) communities in the United States over time and in relationship to characteristics such as dual eligibility and health conditions. Using Medicare data, findings showed that the prevalence of SMI in AL increased by 54% from 2007 to 2017. Residents with SMI were more likely to be dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid than residents without SMI. Approximately 10% of AL communities had over half of the sample's AL residents with SMI.
Citation: Hua CL, Cornell PY, Zimmerman S . Trends in serious mental illness in US assisted living compared to nursing homes and the community: 2007-2017. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2021 May;29(5):434-44. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2020.09.011..
Keywords: Elderly, Behavioral Health, Nursing Homes, Long-Term Care, Medicare
Reistetter TA, Eschbach K K, Prochaska J
Understanding variation in postacute care: developing rehabilitation service areas through geographic mapping.
This study’s goal was to demonstrate a method for developing rehabilitation service areas for post-acute care. A secondary analysis of 2013-2014 Medicare records for older patients in Texas (n = 469,172) was conducted. The analysis included admission records for inpatient rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and long-term care hospitals. The authors used Ward’s algorithm to cluster patient ZIP code tabulation areas based on which facilities patients were admitted to for rehabilitation. They set the number of rehabilitation clusters to 22 to allow for comparison to the 22 hospital referral regions. Interclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) and variance in the number of rehabilitation beds across areas were the methods used to evaluate rehabilitation service areas. The service areas had a higher ICC and variance in beds than the hospital referral regions.
Citation: Reistetter TA, Eschbach K K, Prochaska J . Understanding variation in postacute care: developing rehabilitation service areas through geographic mapping. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2021 May;100(5):465-72. doi: 10.1097/phm.0000000000001577..
Keywords: Elderly, Rehabilitation, Medicare, Nursing Homes, Long-Term Care, Home Healthcare, Access to Care
Mack DS, Baek J, Tjia J
Geographic variation of statin use among US nursing home residents with life-limiting illness.
The authors described regional variation in statin use among residents with life-limiting illness. Statin usage was determined by examination of Medicare Part D claims. Findings suggested extensive geographic variation in US statin prescribing across hospital referral regions, especially for those aged 76 years or older. This variation may reflect clinical uncertainty given the largely absent guidelines for statin use in nursing home residents.
Citation: Mack DS, Baek J, Tjia J . Geographic variation of statin use among US nursing home residents with life-limiting illness. Med Care 2021 May;59(5):425-36. doi: 10.1097/mlr.0000000000001505..
Keywords: Elderly, Nursing Homes, Long-Term Care, Medicare, Practice Patterns
Jacobs PD, Kronick R
AHRQ Author: Jacobs PD
The effects of coding intensity in Medicare Advantage on plan benefits and finances.
The authors assessed how beneficiary premiums, expected out-of-pocket costs, and plan finances in the Medicare Advantage (MA) market are related to coding intensity. The study sample included beneficiaries enrolled in both MA and Part D from 2008-2015; Medicare claims and drug utilization data for Traditional Medicare beneficiaries were used to calibrate an independent measure of health risk. The authors found that, while coding intensity increased taxpayers' costs of the MA program, enrollees and plans both benefitted but with larger gains for plans. They concluded that the adoption of policies to adjust more completely for coding intensity would likely affect both beneficiaries and plan profits.
Citation: Jacobs PD, Kronick R . The effects of coding intensity in Medicare Advantage on plan benefits and finances. Health Serv Res 2021 Apr;56(2):178-87. doi: 10.1111/1475-6773.13591..
Keywords: Medicare, Health Insurance, Healthcare Costs, Policy