(1/806) Functional status outcomes for assessment of quality in long-term care.

OBJECTIVE: Although decline in functional status has been recommended as a quality indicator in long-term care, studies examining its use provide no consensus on which definition of functional status outcome is the most appropriate to use for quality assessment. We examined whether different definitions of decline in functional status affect judgments of quality of care provided in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) long-term care facilities. METHODS: Six measures of functional status outcome that are prominent in the literature were considered. The sample consisted of 15 409 individuals who resided in VA long-term care facilities at any time from 4/1/95 to 10/1/95. Activities of daily living variables were used to generate measures of functional status. Differences between residents' baseline and semi-annual assessments were considered and facility performance using the various definitions of functional status were described. RESULTS: The percentage of residents seen as declining in functional status ranged from 7.7% to 31.5%, depending upon the definition applied. The definition of functional status also affected rankings, z-scores, and 'outlier' status for facilities. CONCLUSION: Judgments of facility performance are sensitive to how outcome measures are defined. Careful selection of an appropriate definition of functional status outcome is needed when assessing quality in long-term care.  (+info)

(2/806) The hospital multistay rate as an indicator of quality of care.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the hospital multistay rate to determine if it has the attributes necessary for a performance indicator that can be applied to administrative databases. DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: The fiscal year 1994 Veterans Affairs Patient Treatment File (PTF), which contains discharge data on all VA inpatients. STUDY DESIGN: Using a retrospective study design, we assessed cross-hospital variation in (a) the multistay rate and (b) the standardized multistay ratio. A hospital's multistay rate is the observed average number of hospitalizations for patients with one or more hospital stays. A hospital's standardized multistay ratio is the ratio of the geometric mean of the observed number of hospitalizations per patient to the geometric mean of the expected number of hospitalizations per patient, conditional on the types of patients admitted to that hospital. DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS: Discharge data were extracted for the 135,434 VA patients who had one or more admissions in one of seven disease groups. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We found that 17.3 percent (28,300) of the admissions in the seven disease categories were readmissions. The average number of stays per person (multistay rate) for an average of seven months of follow-up ranged from 1.15 to 1.45 across the disease categories. The maximum standardized multistay ratio ranged from 1.12 to 1.39. CONCLUSIONS: This study has shown that the hospital multistay rate offers sufficient ease of measurement, frequency, and variation to potentially serve as a performance indicator.  (+info)

(3/806) Positive predictive value of the diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction in an administrative database.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the positive predictive value of ICD-9-CM coding of acute myocardial infarction and cardiac procedures. METHODS: Using chart-abstracted data as the standard, we examined administrative data from the Veterans Health Administration for a national random sample of 5,151 discharges. MAIN RESULTS: The positive predictive value of acute myocardial infarction coding in the primary position was 96.9%. The sensitivity and specificity of coding were, respectively, 96% and 99% for catheterization, 95.7% and 100% for coronary artery bypass graft surgery, and 90.3% and 99. 7% for percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty. CONCLUSIONS: The positive predictive value of acute myocardial infarction and related procedure coding is comparable to or better than previously reported observations of administrative databases.  (+info)

(4/806) Relation of surgical volume to outcome in eight common operations: results from the VA National Surgical Quality Improvement Program.

OBJECTIVE: To examine, in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the relation between surgical volume and outcome in eight commonly performed operations of intermediate complexity. SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: In multihospital health care systems such as VHA, consideration is often given to closing low-volume surgical services, with the assumption that better surgical outcomes are achieved in hospitals with larger surgical volumes. Literature data to support this assumption in intermediate-complexity operations are either limited or controversial. METHODS: The VHA National Surgical Quality Improvement Program data on nonruptured abdominal aortic aneurysmectomy, vascular infrainguinal reconstruction, carotid endarterectomy (CEA), lung lobectomy/pneumonectomy, open and laparoscopic cholecystectomy, partial colectomy, and total hip arthroplasty were used. Pearson correlation, analysis of variance, mixed effects hierarchical logistic regression, and automatic interaction detection analysis were used to assess the association of annual procedure/specialty volume with risk-adjusted 30-day death (and stroke in CEA). RESULTS: Eight major surgical procedures (68,631 operations) were analyzed. No statistically significant associations between procedure or specialty volume and 30-day mortality rate (or 30-day stroke rate in CEA) were found. CONCLUSIONS: In VHA hospitals, the procedure and surgical specialty volume in eight prevalent operations of intermediate complexity are not associated with risk-adjusted 30-day mortality rate from these operations, or with the risk-adjusted 30-day stroke rate from CEA. Volume of surgery in these operations should not be used as a surrogate for quality of surgical care.  (+info)

(5/806) Patient factors related to the odds of receiving prevention services in Veterans Health Administration medical centers.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between patient characteristics and the odds of receiving 13 health promotion/disease prevention services recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) for average-risk individuals. METHODS: A mail survey was sent to a random sample of 68,422 veterans who obtained primary care from any of the 153 Veterans Health Administration facilities in 1996; 44,304 responded (adjusted response rate was 68%). Multivariate logistic regression models were used. RESULTS: Demographic factors, health risk behaviors, and self-reported health were associated with the odds of receiving prevention services. Current smokers, heavy alcohol drinkers, and females were less likely to receive many health promotion services, whereas regular exercisers, overweight individuals, males, those reporting poorer health, individuals reporting high or controlled blood pressure, and those reporting high or controlled cholesterol levels were more likely to receive USPSTF-recommended prevention services. CONCLUSION: Substantial proportions of veterans were likely to obtain prevention services recommended by the USPSTF for average-risk individuals. Nevertheless, veterans who reported being current smokers, heavy drinkers, or female were less likely to obtain these services. These subgroups may benefit from additional initiatives.  (+info)

(6/806) US Department of Veterans Affairs medical care system as a resource to epidemiologists.

Epidemiologists have utilized several health care systems with large numbers of enrollees and centralized databases to achieve their research aims. Although containing many of the features that have made certain health care systems valuable to the conduct of epidemiologic research, the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical care system has not been well utilized by epidemiologists. This article will describe existing and planned features of this health care system that should be of interest to epidemiologists, including centralized databases that capture hospital discharge and outpatient clinic diagnostic data, a planned enrollment file that would contain all persons eligible for VA medical care, and the size and national dispersion of VA medical care facilities. Also, VA leadership has demonstrated an interest in the promotion of epidemiologic research by initiating several new programs, including the creation of three Epidemiologic Research and Information Centers (ERICs) to foster VA epidemiologic research, and announcing a program to support investigator-initiated epidemiologic research projects with VA funding. Epidemiologists with interests in medical problems that afflict veterans should consider partnerships with VA investigators to achieve their research aims.  (+info)

(7/806) Outcomes monitoring and the testing of new psychiatric treatments: work therapy in the treatment of chronic post-traumatic stress disorder.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of a work therapy intervention, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Compensated Work Therapy program (CWT), in the treatment of patients suffering from chronic war-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); and to demonstrate methods for using outcomes monitoring data to screen previously untested treatments. DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: Baseline and four-month follow-up questionnaires administered to 3,076 veterans treated in 52 specialized VA inpatient programs for treatment of PTSD at facilities that also had CWT programs. Altogether 78 (2.5 percent) of these patients participated in CWT during the four months after discharge. STUDY DESIGN: The study used a pre-post nonequivalent control group design. DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS: Questionnaires documented PTSD symptoms, violent behavior, alcohol and drug use, employment status, and medical status at the time of program entry and four months after discharge from the hospital to the community. Administrative databases were used to identify participants in the CWT program. Propensity scores were used to match CWT participants and other patients, and hierarchical linear modeling was used to evaluate differences in outcomes between treatment groups on seven outcomes. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The propensity scaling method created groups that were not significantly different on any measure. No greater improvement was observed among CWT participants than among other patients on any of seven outcome measures. CONCLUSIONS: Substantively this study suggests that work therapy, as currently practiced in VA, is not an effective intervention, at least in the short term, for chronic, war-related PTSD. Methodologically it illustrates the use of outcomes monitoring data to screen previously untested treatments and the use of propensity scoring and hierarchical linear modeling to adjust for selection biases in observational studies.  (+info)

(8/806) A comparative evaluation of polytetrafluoroethylene, umbilical vein, and saphenous vein bypass grafts for femoral-popliteal above-knee revascularization: a prospective randomized Department of Veterans Affairs cooperative study.

PURPOSE: Currently, the choice of a vascular prosthesis for a femoral-popliteal above-knee arterial bypass graft is left to the surgeon's preference, because the available information on comparative evaluations is inconclusive. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Cooperative Study 141 was established to identify whether improved patency exists with different bypass graft materials for patients with femoral-popliteal above-knee bypass grafts. METHODS: Between June 1983 and June 1988, 752 patients at 20 VA medical centers were randomized to receive either an externally supported polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE; N = 265), human umbilical vein (HUV; N = 261), or saphenous vein (SV; N = 226) for an above-knee femoral-popliteal bypass graft. The indication for the bypass grafting operation was limb salvage in 67.5% of the patients. Patients were observed every 3 months for the first year and every 6 months thereafter. All patients were instructed to take aspirin (650 mg) daily for the duration of the study.Doppler-derived ankle-brachial indices (ABIs) were determined preoperatively and serially postoperatively. A bypass graft was considered to be patent when the Doppler-derived postoperative ABI remained significantly improved (more than 0.15 units higher than their preoperative value) and additional objective information, such as angiograms or operations, did not contradict these observations. Patency failure also included bypass grafts that were removed because of an infection or aneurysmal degeneration. Patency rates were compared by using the Kaplan-Meier life table analysis. RESULTS: The cumulative assisted primary patency rates were statistically similar among the different conduit types at 2 years (SV, 81%; HUV, 70%; PTFE, 69%). After 5 years, above-knee SV bypass grafts had a significantly (P +info)