(1/2846) Practice patterns, case mix, Medicare payment policy, and dialysis facility costs.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effects of case mix, practice patterns, features of the payment system, and facility characteristics on the cost of dialysis. DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: The nationally representative sample of dialysis units in the 1991 U.S. Renal Data System's Case Mix Adequacy (CMA) Study. The CMA data were merged with data from Medicare Cost Reports, HCFA facility surveys, and HCFA's end-stage renal disease patient registry. STUDY DESIGN: We estimated a statistical cost function to examine the determinants of costs at the dialysis unit level. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The relationship between case mix and costs was generally weak. However, dialysis practices (type of dialysis membrane, membrane reuse policy, and treatment duration) did have a significant effect on costs. Further, facilities whose payment was constrained by HCFA's ceiling on the adjustment for area wage rates incurred higher costs than unconstrained facilities. The costs of hospital-based units were considerably higher than those of freestanding units. Among chain units, only members of one of the largest national chains exhibited significant cost savings relative to independent facilities. CONCLUSIONS: Little evidence showed that adjusting dialysis payment to account for differences in case mix across facilities would be necessary to ensure access to care for high-cost patients or to reimburse facilities equitably for their costs. However, current efforts to increase dose of dialysis may require higher payments. Longer treatments appear to be the most economical method of increasing the dose of dialysis. Switching to more expensive types of dialysis membranes was a more costly means of increasing dose and hence must be justified by benefits beyond those of higher dose. Reusing membranes saved money, but the savings were insufficient to offset the costs associated with using more expensive membranes. Most, but not all, of the higher costs observed in hospital-based units appear to reflect overhead cost allocation rather than a difference in real resources devoted to treatment. The economies experienced by the largest chains may provide an explanation for their recent growth in market share. The heterogeneity of results by chain size implies that characterizing units using a simple chain status indicator variable is inadequate. Cost differences by facility type and the effects of the ongoing growth of large chains are worthy of continued monitoring to inform both payment policy and antitrust enforcement.  (+info)

(2/2846) Organizational and environmental factors associated with nursing home participation in managed care.

OBJECTIVE: To develop and test a model, based on resource dependence theory, that identifies the organizational and environmental characteristics associated with nursing home participation in managed care. DATA SOURCES AND STUDY SETTING: Data for statistical analysis derived from a survey of Directors of Nursing in a sample of nursing homes in eight states (n = 308). These data were merged with data from the On-line Survey Certification and Reporting System, the Medicare Managed Care State/County Data File, and the 1995 Area Resource File. STUDY DESIGN: Since the dependent variable is dichotomous, the logistic procedure was used to fit the regression. The analysis was weighted using SUDAAN. FINDINGS: Participation in a provider network, higher proportions of resident care covered by Medicare, providing IV therapy, greater availability of RNs and physical therapists, and Medicare HMO market penetration are associated with a greater likelihood of having a managed care contract. CONCLUSION: As more Medicare recipients enroll in HMOs, nursing home involvement in managed care is likely to increase. Interorganizational linkages enhance the likelihood of managed care participation. Nursing homes interested in managed care should consider upgrading staffing and providing at least some subacute services.  (+info)

(3/2846) Use of out-of-plan services by Medicare members of HIP.

Use of out-of-plan services in 1972 by Medicare members of the Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York (HIP) is examined in terms of the demographic and enrollment characteristics of out-of-plan users, types of services received outside the plan, and the relationship of out-of-plan to in-plan use. Users of services outside the plan tended to be more seriously ill and more frequently hospitalized than those receiving all of their services within the plan. The costs to the SSA of providing medical care to HIP enrollees are compared with analogous costs for non-HIP beneficiaries, and the implications for the organization and financing of health services for the aged are discussed.  (+info)

(4/2846) The changing elderly population and future health care needs.

The impending growth of the elderly population requires both fiscal and substantive changes in Medicare and Medicaid that are responsive to cost issues and to changing patterns of need. More emphasis is required on chronic disease management, on meaningful integration between acute and long-term care services, and on improved coordination between Medicare and Medicaid initiatives. This paper reviews various trends, including the growth in managed-care approaches, experience with social health maintenance organizations and Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly demonstrations, and the need for a coherent long-term care policy. Such policies, however, transcend health care and require a broad range of community initiatives.  (+info)

(5/2846) Hospitals and managed care: catching up with the networks.

Although the growth of managed care is having a significant impact on hospitals, organizational response to managed care remains fragmented. We conducted a survey of 83 hospitals nationwide that indicated that most hospitals now have at least one person devoted to managed care initiatives. These individuals, however, often spend most of their time on current issues, such as contracting with managed care organizations and physician relations. Concerns for the future, such as network development and marketing, although important, receive less immediate attention form these individuals. Hospital managed care executives must take a more proactive role in long range managed care planning by collaborating with managed care organizations and pharmaceutical companies.  (+info)

(6/2846) Differences in physician compensation for cardiovascular services by age, sex, and race.

The purpose was to determine whether physicians receive substantially less compensation from patient groups (women, older patients, and nonwhite patients) that are reported to have low rates of utilization of cardiovascular services. Over an 18-month period we collected information on payments to physicians by 3,194 consecutive patients who underwent stress testing an 833 consecutive patients who underwent percutaneous coronary angioplasty at the Yale University Cardiology Practice. Although the charges for procedures were not related to patient characteristics, there were large and significant differences in payment to physicians based on age, sex, and race. For example, physicians who performed percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty received at least $2,500 from, or on behalf of, 72% of the patients 40 to 64 years old, 22% of the patients 65 to 74 years old, and 3% of the patients 75 years and older (P < 0.001); from 49% of the men and 28% of the women (P < 0.001); and 42% of the whites and 31% of the nonwhites (P < 0.001). Similar differences were observed for stress testing. These associations were largely explained by differences in insurance status.  (+info)

(7/2846) Use of ineffective or unsafe medications among members of a Medicare HMO compared to individuals in a Medicare fee-for-service program.

Adverse drug reactions and inappropriate prescribing practices are an important cause of hospitalization, morbidity, and mortality in the elderly. This study compares prescribing practices within a Medicare risk contract health maintenance organization (HMO) in 1993 and 1994 with prescribing practices for two nationally representative samples of elderly individuals predominantly receiving medical care within the Medicare fee-for-service sector. Information on prescriptions in the fee-for-service sector came from the 1987 National Medical Expenditures Survey (NMES) and the 1992 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS). A total of 20 drugs were studied; these drugs were deemed inappropriate for the elderly because their risk of causing adverse events exceeded their health benefits, according to a consensus panel of experts in geriatrics and pharmacology. One or more of the 20 potentially inappropriate drugs was prescribed to 11.53% of the Medicare HMO members in 1994. These medications were prescribed significantly less often to HMO members in 1994 than to individuals in the fee-for-service sector, based on information from both the 1987 NMES and the 1992 MCBS. Utilization of unsafe or ineffective medications actually decreased with increasing age in the HMO sample, with lowest rates in individuals over the age of 85. However, no relationship between age and medication use was seen in the NMES study, except for individuals over the age of 90 years. The study data support the conclusion that ineffective or unsafe medications were prescribed less often in the Medicare HMO than in national comparison groups. In fact, for the very old, who are most at risk, the use of these medications was much lower in the Medicare HMO than in the Medicare fee-for-service sector. Nevertheless, in 1994, approximately one of every nine members of this Medicare HMO received at least one such medication. Continued efforts and innovative strategies to further reduce the use of unsafe and ineffective drugs among elderly Medicare HMO members are needed.  (+info)

(8/2846) Medicare HMOs: who joins and who leaves?

Medicare risk health maintenance organizations (HMOs) are an increasingly common alternative to fee-for-service Medicare. To date, there has been no examination of whether the HMO program is preferentially used by blacks or by persons living in lower-income areas or whether race and income are associated with reversing Medicare HMO selection. This question is important because evidence suggests that these beneficiaries receive poorer care under the fee-for-service-system than do whites and persons from wealthier areas. Medicare enrollment data from South Florida were examined for 1990 to 1993. Four overlapping groups of enrollees were examined: all age-eligible (age 65 and over) beneficiaries in 1990; all age-eligible beneficiaries in 1993; all age-eligible beneficiaries residing in South Florida during the period 1990 to 1993; and all beneficiaries who became age-eligible for Medicare benefits between 1990 and 1993. The associations between race or income and choice of Medicare option were examined by logistic regression. The association between the demographic characteristics and time staying with a particular option was examined with Kaplan-Meier methods and Cox Proportional Hazards modeling. Enrollment in Medicare risk HMOs steadily increased over the 4-year study period. In the overall Medicare population, the following statistically significant patterns of enrollment in Medicare HMOs were seen: enrollment of blacks was two times higher than that of non-blacks; enrollment decreased with age; and enrollment decreased as income level increased. For the newly eligible population, initial selection of Medicare option was strongly linked to income; race effects were weak but statistically significant. The data for disenrollment from an HMO revealed a similar demographic pattern. At 6 months, higher percentages of blacks, older beneficiaries (older than 85), and individuals from the lowest income area (less than $15,000 per year) had disenrolled. A small percentage of beneficiaries moved between HMOs and FFS plans multiple times. These data on Medicare HMO populations in South Florida, an area with a high concentration of elderly individuals and with one of the highest HMO enrollment rates in the country, indicate that enrollment into and disenrollment from Medicare risk HMOs are associated with certain demographic characteristics, specifically, black race or residence in a low-income area.  (+info)