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(1/41) A national study of medical care expenditures for musculoskeletal conditions: the impact of health insurance and managed care.

OBJECTIVE: To provide estimates of all medical care expenditures on behalf of persons with musculoskeletal conditions in the United States in 1996, to estimate the increment in expenditures attributable to the musculoskeletal conditions among such persons, and to ascertain the impact of the presence or absence of health insurance and/or managed care on such expenditures. METHODS: The estimates were derived from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), a national probability sample of 9,488 households, which includes responses from 21,571 persons. In the MEPS, respondents are surveyed every 6 months to report on medical care utilization and health care expenditures. Of the 21,571 persons surveyed, 4,161 reported having 1 or more musculoskeletal conditions. After weighting the data, these 4,161 individuals were inferred to represent 53.935 million persons in the nation as a whole. We tabulated all medical care expenditures of these individuals, stratified by comorbidity status, and then compared their expenditures with those among persons with chronic conditions other than musculoskeletal disease or with no chronic conditions. We then used regression techniques to estimate the increment of health care expenditures attributable to the musculoskeletal conditions. Finally, we used regression to estimate the impact of health insurance status and managed care status on the health care expenditures of the persons with musculoskeletal conditions. RESULTS: Per capita medical care expenditures in 1996 averaged $3,578 among persons with musculoskeletal conditions, for a national total of $193 billion, the equivalent of 2.5% of the Gross Domestic Product in that year. The largest components were hospital admissions (37%), physician visits (23%), and prescriptions (16%). Estimates of the per capita increment in total medical care expenditures attributable to musculoskeletal conditions ranged from a high of $723 when controlling for the other medical conditions present, to $364 when controlling for these variables and demographics. Persons with musculoskeletal conditions ages 16-64 who lacked health insurance reported total expenditures of $793, versus $3,249 among those with insurance (P < 0.0001). Among such persons with insurance, expenditures did not differ significantly between those in fee-for-service plans and those in managed care health plans. CONCLUSION: Persons with musculoskeletal conditions and health insurance experienced high total expenditures for medical care and high expenditures attributable to the musculoskeletal conditions. Insurance coverage under a managed care plan had no effect on the magnitude of these total expenditures, but lack of insurance coverage did have a significant effect among persons with musculoskeletal conditions.  (+info)

(2/41) Medicare and Medicaid programs; conditions of participation: immunization standards for hospitals, long-term care facilities, and home health agencies. Final rule with comment period.

The provisions of this final rule will remove the Federal barrier related to the requirement for a physician to order influenza and pneumococcal immunizations in Medicare and Medicaid participating hospitals, long-term care facilities, and home health agencies. This final rule will affect vaccine-preventable diseases and will help improve adult vaccination coverage rates. It will facilitate the delivery of appropriate vaccinations in a timely manner, increase the levels of vaccination coverage, and decrease the morbidity and mortality rate of influenza and pneumococcal diseases.  (+info)

(3/41) Daytime testing after laboratory or home-based polysomnography: comparisons of middle-aged insomnia sufferers and normal sleepers.

Many studies have shown only modest differences between insomnia sufferers and matched, non-complaining normal controls in regard to their levels of daytime sleepiness and diurnal performances. The current study was conducted to determine whether such daytime comparisons might be affected by the setting (home vs. sleep lab) in which study participants sleep on the nights before such testing. The study used a counter-balanced, matched-group design in which participants underwent three consecutive nocturnal polysomnographs (PSG) conducted either in the sleep lab or in their homes prior to undergoing daytime multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) and computer-administered performance testing. The study participants were 35 (18 women and 17 men) middle-aged (40-59 years) non-complaining normal sleepers and 33 middle-aged insomnia sufferers (17 women and 16 men) who met structured interview criteria for persistent primary insomnia. Use of a hierarchical linear statistical model showed only insomnia sufferers who underwent nocturnal home PSG were more alert on the MSLT than were normal sleepers who underwent lab PSG. However, these insomnia sufferers showed a greater propensity toward attention lapses on selected reaction time tests than did either of the two normal control groups (i.e. either those who slept in the lab or those who slept at home). The results suggest the nocturnal sleep setting (home vs. lab) may affect subsequent MSLT and performance test comparisons of insomnia sufferers and normal sleepers.  (+info)

(4/41) Utilization of home health services before and after the Balanced Budget Act of 1997: what were the initial effects?

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the impact of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA), which changed the way Medicare reimbursed for home health services, on a range of home health utilization measures, and to examine whether particular subgroups of beneficiaries were differentially impacted in the post-BBA period. DATA SOURCES: Secondary data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Standard Analytic Files for the 1 percent sample of Medicare beneficiaries for fiscal years 1997 and 1999, linked with information from CMS eligibility, provider, and cost report files as well as the Area Resources File. STUDY DESIGN: Logistic regression was used to estimate the effects of being in the post-BBA period on the incidence of home health service use and ordinary least squares (OLS) regression was used to estimate the effects of being in the post-BBA period on the amount and type of use by home health service users. Interaction terms we reincluded for all the independent variables to assess whether the effect was disproportionate among particular beneficiary subgroups. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Results show a 22 percent decrease in the percentage using home health services post-BBA and a 39 percent decrease in the number of visits per user. Stronger reductions, though not very large, were found in the incidence of use for beneficiaries aged 85 and older, those in states with high historical Medicare home health use, and those with Medicaid buy-in. More intensive reductions in the number of services were found for those aged 85 and older, in high historical Medicare use states, nonwhites, females, those using for-profit agencies, and those treated for certain diagnoses. Less intensive reductions were associated with hospital-based agencies. CONCLUSIONS: This research demonstrates that public program expenditures can be sharply curtailed with financial incentives. As reimbursement shifts to a prospective payment system legislated by the BBA, utilization should be closely monitored, especially for vulnerable subgroups.  (+info)

(5/41) Costs of health care administration in the United States and Canada.

BACKGROUND: A decade ago, the administrative costs of health care in the United States greatly exceeded those in Canada. We investigated whether the ascendancy of computerization, managed care, and the adoption of more businesslike approaches to health care have decreased administrative costs. METHODS: For the United States and Canada, we calculated the administrative costs of health insurers, employers' health benefit programs, hospitals, practitioners' offices, nursing homes, and home care agencies in 1999. We analyzed published data, surveys of physicians, employment data, and detailed cost reports filed by hospitals, nursing homes, and home care agencies. In calculating the administrative share of health care spending, we excluded retail pharmacy sales and a few other categories for which data on administrative costs were unavailable. We used census surveys to explore trends over time in administrative employment in health care settings. Costs are reported in U.S. dollars. RESULTS: In 1999, health administration costs totaled at least 294.3 billion dollars in the United States, or 1,059 dollars per capita, as compared with 307 dollars per capita in Canada. After exclusions, administration accounted for 31.0 percent of health care expenditures in the United States and 16.7 percent of health care expenditures in Canada. Canada's national health insurance program had overhead of 1.3 percent; the overhead among Canada's private insurers was higher than that in the United States (13.2 percent vs. 11.7 percent). Providers' administrative costs were far lower in Canada. Between 1969 and 1999, the share of the U.S. health care labor force accounted for by administrative workers grew from 18.2 percent to 27.3 percent. In Canada, it grew from 16.0 percent in 1971 to 19.1 percent in 1996. (Both nations' figures exclude insurance-industry personnel.) CONCLUSIONS: The gap between U.S. and Canadian spending on health care administration has grown to 752 dollars per capita. A large sum might be saved in the United States if administrative costs could be trimmed by implementing a Canadian-style health care system.  (+info)

(6/41) Medicare program; photocopying reimbursement methodology. Final rule.

This final rule increases the rate of reimbursement for expenses incurred by prospective payment system PPS) hospitals for photocopying medical records requested by Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs), formerly known as Utilization and Quality Control Peer Review Organizations (PROs). We are increasing the rate from 7 cents per page to 12 cents per page to reflect inflationary changes in the labor and supply cost components of the formula. This final rule also provides for the periodic review and adjustment of the per-page reimbursement rate to account for inflation and changes in technology. The methodology for calculating the per-page reimbursement rate will remain unchanged. We are also providing for the payment of the expenses of furnishing photocopies to QIOs, to other providers subject to a PPS (for example, skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies), in accordance with the rules established for reimbursing PPS hospitals for these expenses.  (+info)

(7/41) Assessing home care agencies' readiness for telehealth.

Home healthcare is facing a set of challenging new realities in the 21st century such as funding limitations and increased life expectancy. Many believe that the use of telehealth enabling patients at home to interact with nurses at the clinical site using videoconferencing technology, will be a cost-effective solution to providing quality care services. Many agencies have adopted or are planning on implementing a telehealth solution. Level of agencies' readiness can lead to a lower level of risk, and a more successful innovation outcome. We developed a framework for assessing home care agencies' readiness for telehealth consisting of 35 items. This instrument can be used as a decision support tool for agencies that are about to implement a telehealth system as well as a formative or summative evaluation tool for agencies already utilizing telehealth.  (+info)

(8/41) Risk adjustment methods for Home Care Quality Indicators (HCQIs) based on the minimum data set for home care.

BACKGROUND: There has been increasing interest in enhancing accountability in health care. As such, several methods have been developed to compare the quality of home care services. These comparisons can be problematic if client populations vary across providers and no adjustment is made to account for these differences. The current paper explores the effects of risk adjustment for a set of home care quality indicators (HCQIs) based on the Minimum Data Set for Home Care (MDS-HC). METHODS: A total of 22 home care providers in Ontario and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) in Manitoba, Canada, gathered data on their clients using the MDS-HC. These assessment data were used to generate HCQIs for each agency and for the two regions. Three types of risk adjustment methods were contrasted: a) client covariates only; b) client covariates plus an "Agency Intake Profile" (AIP) to adjust for ascertainment and selection bias by the agency; and c) client covariates plus the intake Case Mix Index (CMI). RESULTS: The mean age and gender distribution in the two populations was very similar. Across the 19 risk-adjusted HCQIs, Ontario CCACs had a significantly higher AIP adjustment value for eight HCQIs, indicating a greater propensity to trigger on these quality issues on admission. On average, Ontario had unadjusted rates that were 0.3% higher than the WRHA. Following risk adjustment with the AIP covariate, Ontario rates were, on average, 1.5% lower than the WRHA. In the WRHA, individual agencies were likely to experience a decline in their standing, whereby they were more likely to be ranked among the worst performers following risk adjustment. The opposite was true for sites in Ontario. CONCLUSIONS: Risk adjustment is essential when comparing quality of care across providers when home care agencies provide services to populations with different characteristics. While such adjustment had a relatively small effect for the two regions, it did substantially affect the ranking of many individual home care providers.  (+info)