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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 18 of 18 Research Studies Displayed
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
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
Feder SL, Canavan ME, Wang S
Patterns of opioid prescribing among Medicare Advantage beneficiaries with pain and cardiopulmonary conditions.
This study’s objective was to compare patterns of opioid prescribing among older adults reporting pain with cardiopulmonary conditions, cancer, or both. Data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare Health Outcomes Survey resource linked to Medicare Part D prescription claims was used to identify patients who self-reported moderate- to-severe pain interference with daily activities. Patients included were stratified by 1) self-reported history of cardiopulmonary conditions; 2) were within five years of cancer diagnosis; 3) had both conditions; or 4) neither. Of 10,516 patients identified, 1758 had cardiopulmonary conditions, 3383 cancer, 2861 both, and 2514 neither: with 46% aged 75 or more, 65% non-Hispanic white, and 10% non-Hispanic black. At the time of the survey, 1627 (15.5%) received opioids. Adjusted proportions of opioid use were similar for all conditions, with 14% for cardiopulmonary conditions only, 17% with cancer only, and 17% for both conditions. Patients with neither condition had a 13.1% opioid use rate.
AHRQ-funded; HS022882; HS025164.
Citation: Feder SL, Canavan ME, Wang S . Patterns of opioid prescribing among Medicare Advantage beneficiaries with pain and cardiopulmonary conditions. J Palliat Med 2021 Feb;24(2):195-204. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2020.0193..
Keywords: Elderly, Opioids, Medication, Practice Patterns, Medicare
Hambley BC, Anderson KE, Shanbhag SP
Payment incentives and the use of higher-cost drugs: a retrospective cohort analysis of intravenous iron in the Medicare population.
Researchers examined prescribing patterns in the context of intravenous (IV) iron, for which multiple similarly safe and efficacious formulations exist, with wide variations in price. Using Medicare data, they found an increase in the dispensing of a higher-priced IV iron formulation associated with a shortage of a less expensive drug that persisted once the shortage ended. They concluded that their findings in IV iron have broader implications for Part B drug payment policy because the price of the drug determines the physician and health system payment.
Citation: Hambley BC, Anderson KE, Shanbhag SP . Payment incentives and the use of higher-cost drugs: a retrospective cohort analysis of intravenous iron in the Medicare population. Am J Manag Care 2020 Dec;26(12):516-22. doi: 10.37765/ajmc.2020.88539..
Keywords: Elderly, Medication, Medicare, Payment, Healthcare Costs, Practice Patterns
Romman AN, Hsu CM, Chou LN
Opioid prescribing to Medicare Part D enrollees, 2013-2017: shifting responsibility to pain management providers.
This study looked at trends in opioid prescribing frequency to Medicare Part D enrollees from 2013 to 2017 by medical specialty and provider type. The authors analyzed opioid claims and prescribing trends for specialties accounting for ≥1% of all opioid claims. Pain management specialists increased Medicare Part D opioid claims by 27.3% to 1,140 mean claims per provider in 2017. Physical medicine and rehabilitation providers increased claims by 16.9% to 511 mean claims per provider in 2017. All other medical specialties decreased opioid claims during this period, with emergency medicine decreasing the most (-19.9%) and orthopedic surgery (-16%) dropping opioid claims the most of all the other specialties. Overall physician decrease was -5.2%. However opioid claims among dentists (+5.6%) and nonphysician providers (+10.2%) increased during this period.
Citation: Romman AN, Hsu CM, Chou LN . Opioid prescribing to Medicare Part D enrollees, 2013-2017: shifting responsibility to pain management providers. Pain Med 2020 Nov 7;21(7):1400-07. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnz344..
Keywords: Elderly, Opioids, Medication, Medicare, Pain, Chronic Conditions, Practice Patterns
Reynolds EL, Kerber KA, Hill C
The effects of the Medicare NCS reimbursement policy: utilization, payments, and patient access.
The purpose of this research was to determine whether the 2013 nerve conduction study (NCS) reimbursement reduction changed Medicare use, payments, and patient access to Medicare physicians by performing a retrospective analysis of Medicare data. The investigators found that the Medicare NCS reimbursement policy resulted in a larger decrease in NCS providers than in EMG providers. Despite fewer neurologists and physiatrists performing NCS, Medicare access to these physicians for E/M services was not affected.
AHRQ-funded; HS017690; HS022258.
Citation: Reynolds EL, Kerber KA, Hill C . The effects of the Medicare NCS reimbursement policy: utilization, payments, and patient access. Neurology 2020 Aug 18;95(7):e930-e35. doi: 10.1212/wnl.0000000000010090..
Keywords: Payment, Medicare, Policy, Practice Patterns
Socal MP, Anderson KE, Sen A
Biosimilar uptake in Medicare Part B varied across hospital outpatient departments and physician practices: the case of filgrastim.
The purpose of this study was to examine the uptake of filgrastim-sndz (Zarxio), the first biosimilar to launch in the United States, in the Medicare Part B fee-for-service program from its launch in September 2015 to December 2017 and compare characteristics of patients and facilities that used filgrastim-sndz or originator filgrastim (Neupogen). The investigators concluded that uptake of biosimilar filgrastim in the Medicare Part B program occurred despite multiple challenges to the adoption of biosimilars in the US market, suggesting that substantial potential savings could be generated by improving biosimilar uptake.
Citation: Socal MP, Anderson KE, Sen A . Biosimilar uptake in Medicare Part B varied across hospital outpatient departments and physician practices: the case of filgrastim. Value Health 2020 Apr;23(4):481-86. doi: 10.1016/j.jval.2019.12.007..
Keywords: Medicare, Practice Patterns, Medication, Healthcare Costs, Value
Hu T, Decker SL, Chou SY
AHRQ Author: Decker SL
The impact of health insurance expansion on physician treatment choice: Medicare Part D and physician prescribing.
Researchers tested the effect of the introduction of Medicare Part D on physician prescribing behavior using data on physician visits from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS). Subjects were patients aged 60-69. The researchers found a 32% increase in the number of prescription drugs prescribed or continued per visit and a 46% increase in the number of generic drugs prescribed or continued for the elderly after the introduction of Medicare Part D.
Citation: Hu T, Decker SL, Chou SY . The impact of health insurance expansion on physician treatment choice: Medicare Part D and physician prescribing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28168448.
Keywords: Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), Health Insurance, Medicare, Medication, Practice Patterns, Elderly
Zhu JM, Navathe A, Yuan Y
Medicare's bundled payment model did not change skilled nursing facility discharge patterns.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether participation in Medicare's voluntary Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) model was associated with changes in discharge referral patterns to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), specifically number of SNF partners and discharge concentration. The investigators concluded that hospital participation in BPCI was not associated with changes in the number of SNF partners or in discharge concentration relative to non-BPCI hospitals.
Citation: Zhu JM, Navathe A, Yuan Y . Medicare's bundled payment model did not change skilled nursing facility discharge patterns. Am J Manag Care 2019 Jul;25(7):329-34..
Keywords: Medicare, Payment, Practice Patterns, Hospital Discharge, Nursing Homes
Zhou M, Oakes AH, Bridges JFP
Regional supply of medical resources and systemic overuse of health care among Medicare beneficiaries.
The goal of this study was to explore health care system factors associated with regional variation in overuse of resources, as measured by the Johns Hopkins Overuse Index (JHOI). Medicare fee-for-service claims data from beneficiaries age 65 was used to calculate the JHOI for 306 hospital referral regions in the U.S. Regions with a higher density of primary care physicians had a lower JHOI, which indicates less systemic overuse. Regional characteristics associated with higher JHOI included the number of acute care hospital beds per 1000 residents and number of hospital-based anesthesiologists, pathologists, and radiologists. The authors conclude that regional variations in health care resources are associated with the level of systemic overuse of health care, and that the role of primary care doctors in reducing overuse deserves further attention.
AHRQ-funded; T32 HS000029.
Citation: Zhou M, Oakes AH, Bridges JFP . Regional supply of medical resources and systemic overuse of health care among Medicare beneficiaries. J Gen Intern Med 2018 Dec;33(12):2127-31. doi: 10.1007/s11606-018-4638-9..
Keywords: Access to Care, Elderly, Healthcare Delivery, Healthcare Utilization, Medicare, Practice Patterns
Trends in opioid use and prescribing in Medicare, 2006-2012.
The purpose of this study was to determine characteristics and trends in opioid use, questionable use, and prescribing in Medicare. The investigators conducted a retrospective analysis of a 20 percent sample of Medicare claims data. Estimates were adjusted using multivariable regression analysis. They found that opioid utilization and prescribing were increasingly heterogeneous from 2006 to 2012.
Citation: Axeen S . Trends in opioid use and prescribing in Medicare, 2006-2012. Health Serv Res 2018 Oct;53(5):3309-28. doi: 10.1111/1475-6773.12846..
Keywords: Medicare, Medication, Opioids, Practice Patterns
Kuo YF, Raji MA, Liaw V
Opioid prescriptions in older Medicare beneficiaries after the 2014 federal rescheduling of hydrocodone products.
The authors sought to examine how an October 2014 Drug Enforcement Administration policy reclassified hydrocodone product from schedule III to II has affected older adults. They found that the 2014 change in hydrocodone from schedule III to schedule II was associated with modest decreases in rates of opioid use in the elderly. They also found an unexpected increase in opioid-related hospitalizations without documented opioid prescriptions, which may represent an increase in illegal use.
Citation: Kuo YF, Raji MA, Liaw V . Opioid prescriptions in older Medicare beneficiaries after the 2014 federal rescheduling of hydrocodone products. J Am Geriatr Soc 2018 May;66(5):945-53. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15332.
Keywords: Elderly, Medicare, Opioids, Policy, Practice Patterns
Raji MY, Chen NW, Raji M
Factors associated with seeking physician care by Medicare beneficiaries who receive all their primary care from nurse practitioners.
The authors sought to examine rate and correlates of switching from exclusive nurse practitioner (NP) primary care to receiving some or all primary care from physicians. The study group consisted of Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes, congrestive heart failure, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The researchers found that about half of Medicare patients under exclusive NP primary care switched to physicians for some or all primary care over a 3-year period.
AHRQ-funded; HS022134; HS020642.
Citation: Raji MY, Chen NW, Raji M . Factors associated with seeking physician care by Medicare beneficiaries who receive all their primary care from nurse practitioners. J Prim Care Community Health 2016 Oct;7(4):249-57. doi: 10.1177/2150131916659674.
Keywords: Elderly, Medicare, Primary Care, Practice Patterns
Wang SY, Hall J, Pollack CE
Trends in end-of-life cancer care in the Medicare program.
The researchers sought to examine contemporary trends in end-of-life cancer care and geographic variation of end-of-life care aggressiveness among Medicare beneficiaries. They found that the proportion of beneficiaries receiving at least one potentially aggressive end-of-life intervention increased in repeated hospitalization, repeated ED visits, ICU admissions, and late hospice enrollment but declined in in-hospital death. End-of-life chemotherapy use did not change significantly over time. They concluded that despite growing focus on providing appropriate end-of-life care, there has not been an improvement in aggressive end-of-life cancer care in the Medicare program.
Citation: Wang SY, Hall J, Pollack CE . Trends in end-of-life cancer care in the Medicare program. J Geriatr Oncol 2016 Mar;7(2):116-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jgo.2015.11.007.
Keywords: Cancer, Care Management, Elderly, Medicare, Palliative Care, Outcomes, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research, Practice Patterns
Dinan MA, Mi X, Reed SD
Initial trends in the use of the 21-gene recurrence score assay for patients with breast cancer in the Medicare population, 2005-2009.
The researchers examined trends in the use of the 21-gene recurrence score (RS) assay in routine clinical practice in a nationally representative sample of women with breast cancer. They found that the RS assay was adopted quickly in clinical practice after the Medicare coverage decision in 2006, and use appears to be consistent with guidelines and equitable across geographic and racial groups.
Citation: Dinan MA, Mi X, Reed SD . Initial trends in the use of the 21-gene recurrence score assay for patients with breast cancer in the Medicare population, 2005-2009. JAMA Oncol 2015 May;1(2):158-66. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.43..
Keywords: Cancer, Cancer: Breast Cancer, Genetics, Guidelines, Medicare, Practice Patterns, Women
Schroeder MC, Robinson JG, Chapman CG
Use of statins by Medicare beneficiaries post myocardial infarction: poor physician quality or patient-centered care?
This study assessed whether patterns of statin use by Medicare beneficiaries post-discharge may be due to a mix of high-quality and low-quality physicians. It found that the distribution of statin fill rates across physicians was normal, with no clear distinctions in physician quality. Physicians, especially cardiologists, with relatively younger and healthier patient populations had higher rates of statin use.
Citation: Schroeder MC, Robinson JG, Chapman CG . Use of statins by Medicare beneficiaries post myocardial infarction: poor physician quality or patient-centered care? Inquiry 2015 Feb 27;52. doi: 10.1177/0046958015571131..
Keywords: Care Management, Medication, Heart Disease and Health, Medicare, Patient-Centered Healthcare, Practice Patterns
Hollingsworth JM, Funk RJ, Garrison SA
Differences between physician social networks for cardiac surgery serving communities with high versus low proportions of black residents.
The researchers examined physician social networks, where individual physicians are tied together by a series of shared patients. They mapped these networks using medical claims data from the Medicare program and found substantial differences between physician social networks formed around CABG procedures serving health services areas with high and low proportions of black residents. Their conclusion was that physicians serving these communities are more isolated.
Citation: Hollingsworth JM, Funk RJ, Garrison SA . Differences between physician social networks for cardiac surgery serving communities with high versus low proportions of black residents. Med Care 2015 Feb;53(2):160-7. doi: 10.1097/mlr.0000000000000291..
Keywords: Practice Patterns, Surgery, Heart Disease and Health, Medicare
Davidoff AJ, Weiss SR, Baer MR
AHRQ Author: Davidoff AJ
Patterns of erythropoiesis-stimulating agent use among Medicare beneficiaries with myelodysplastic syndromes and consistency with clinical guidelines.
The researchers used SEER registries data to assess population-based patterns of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESA) use relative to treatment guidelines. They found widespread use of ESA in Medicare beneficiaries with myelodysplastic syndromes.
Citation: Davidoff AJ, Weiss SR, Baer MR . Patterns of erythropoiesis-stimulating agent use among Medicare beneficiaries with myelodysplastic syndromes and consistency with clinical guidelines. Leuk Res 2013 Jun;37(6):675-80. doi: 10.1016/j.leukres.2013.02.021.
Keywords: Guidelines, Healthcare Utilization, Medicare, Practice Patterns, Registries