Screening mammography rates by specialty of the usual care physician.
CONTEXT: Although Medicare began paying for screening mammography in 1991, utilization among enrollees has been low. PRACTICE PATTERN EXAMINED: The relation between the specialty of the usual care physician and the proportion of women 65 years of age and older receiving mammography. DATA SOURCE: 100% Medicare Part B claims for 186,526 female enrollees residing in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont during 1993 and 1994. RESULTS: Among women of the target screening age (65 to 69 years), 55.4%, received mammography during the 2-year period. The highest rates of mammography were observed in women whose usual care physician was a gynecologist (77.9%; 95% CI, 75.8 to 79.9), followed by those treated by an internist (67.1%; CI, 66.5 to 67.7), family practitioner (58.1%; CI, 57.4 to 58.9), general practitioner (47.4%; CI, 45.4 to 49.5), and other specialists (41.3%; CI, 40.1 to 42.5). The lowest rates were observed in women who had no physician visits during the 2-year period (9.5%; CI, 8.7 to 10.4). Although screening rates were lower in women aged 70 years and older, a similar pattern was observed. CONCLUSIONS: The probability of a Medicare enrollee's receiving screening mammography is strongly influenced by the specialty of her usual care physician. Covering a preventive service does not guarantee its use. (+info
The Senior Assessment Coupler: point-of-care decision support and data acquisition tool.
In an effort to provide more effective, point-of-care management of the elderly population in the state of Vermont and to begin to collect data on health care outcomes across this population, the Vermont Department of Aging and Disabilities partnered with the PKC Corporation to pilot test the Senior Assessment Coupler. Results of this pilot have shown that the Coupler is an effective tool for collecting health status information, providing decision support at the point of care, facilitating reporting to various state and federal agencies, and empowering elderly Vermonters to make informed decisions about their health care and quality of life. (+info
The geography of health insurance regulation.
The health insurance market consists of three distinct segments--individual, small group, and large group--each governed by different economic and regulatory structures. A number of border-crossing techniques have arisen for avoiding the burdens of one segment and capitalizing on the benefits of others. Drawing from extensive qualitative research into the functioning of existing market structures, this paper describes these techniques and their purposes and effects. This road map helps to identify which reform proposals seek to produce true economic efficiencies and which have the potential to undermine previous reform objectives. (+info
An outbreak of Yersinia enterocolitica O:8 infections associated with pasteurized milk.
In October 1995, an outbreak of Yersinia enterocolitica O:8 infections occurred in the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire. Ten patients were identified, median age 9 years (range, 6 months-44 years). Three patients were hospitalized; 1 underwent an appendectomy. Consumption of bottled pasteurized milk from a local dairy was associated with illness (matched odds ratio undefined; lower 95% confidence interval, 1.9). No deficiencies in pasteurization procedures or equipment were detected. Y. enterocolitica O:8 was isolated from 1 raw-milk sample and from a fecal sample from 1 dairy pig. The route of contamination was not determined; this outbreak likely resulted from postpasteurization contamination of milk. Dairy pigs were the most likely source of contamination. Milk bottles were likely contaminated by rinsing with untreated well water prior to filling or by other environmental routes. Educating dairy owners about Y. enterocolitica and postpasteurization contamination is necessary to prevent further outbreaks. (+info
Helping women quit smoking: results of a community intervention program.
OBJECTIVES: This intervention was implemented to reduce the prevalence of cigarette smoking among women. METHODS: We used community organization approaches to create coalitions and task forces to develop and implement a multicomponent intervention in 2 counties in Vermont and New Hampshire, with a special focus on providing support to help women quit smoking. Evaluation was by pre-intervention and post-intervention random-digit-dialed telephone surveys in the intervention counties and the 2 matched comparison counties. RESULTS: In the intervention counties, compared with the comparison counties, the odds of a woman being a smoker after 4 years of program activities were 0.88 (95% confidence interval = 0.78, 1.00) (P = .02, 1-tailed); women smokers' perceptions of community norms about women smoking were significantly more negative (P = .002, 1-tailed); and the quit rate in the past 5 years was significantly greater (25.4% vs 21.4%; P = .02, 1-tailed). Quit rates were significantly higher in the intervention counties among younger women (aged 18 to 44 years); among women with household annual incomes of $25,000 or less; and among heavier smokers (those who smoked 25 or more cigarettes daily). CONCLUSIONS: In these rural counties, community participation in planning and implementing interventions was accompanied by favorable changes in women's smoking behavior. (+info
Healthy Communities and public policy: four success stories.
As Healthy Communities initiatives mature, many of them are discovering that their work in building community consensus for improved health care and other quality-of-life issues can be transformed into public policy. This article shows how Healthy Communities initiatives have had important effects on policy making at both the county and state level in several cities and states. (+info
Subfertility and risk of spontaneous abortion.
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to assess the association between subfertility and spontaneous abortion. METHODS: A total of 1572 women in New York and Vermont reported 3269 pregnancies between 1980 and 1990 and were able to provide an estimate of the waiting time to conception for 2967. Subfertility was defined as a delay of 1 year or more before a recognized conception was achieved. Rates of spontaneous abortion were determined among women with and without subfertility, and adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated via multiple logistic regression. RESULTS: Spontaneous abortion rates were 23.0% in pregnancies preceded by subfertility and 14.0% in pregnancies without impaired fertility (adjusted OR = 1.71, 95% CI = 1.26, 2.94). The attributable risk of spontaneous abortion associated with subfertility was 6.2%. CONCLUSIONS: Subfertile women evidence an increased number of spontaneous abortions. (+info
Health information outreach: the land-grant mission.
Service to the state is one of the core principles of the land-grant mission. This concept of service is also fundamental to a significant number of outreach activities in academic health sciences libraries, particularly those libraries affiliated with the public land-grant universities. The Dana Medical Library at the University of Vermont has a lengthy tradition of outreach to health care providers and health care consumers of the State of Vermont. Building on the foundation of the land-grant institution-which grew out of federal legislation introduced in the mid nineteenth century by Justin Morrill, Vermont's congressional representative--the Dana Medical Library has based its outreach activities on its dedication of service to the state in the promotion of healthy citizens through information dissemination in support of health care delivery. Reengineering library services designed to meet the specific information needs of its diverse clientele, partnering with disparate health care organizations, and relying on fees for service to expand its outreach activities, the Dana Medical Library has redefined the concept of health information outreach for the new millennium. (+info