Associate Professor (Research), Pediatrics - Neonatal and Developmental Medicine
To investigate the distribution of known factors for preterm birth (PTB) by severity of maternal underweight; to investigate the risk-adjusted relation between severity of underweight and PTB, and to assess whether the relation differed by gestational age.Retrospective cohort study.State of California, USA.Maternally linked hospital and birth certificate records of 950 356 California deliveries in 2007-2010 were analysed. Singleton live births of women whose prepregnancy body mass index (BMI) was underweight (<18.5 kg/m(2) ) or normal (18.50-24.99 kg/m(2) ) were analysed. Underweight BMI was further categorised as: severe (<16.00), moderate (16.00-16.99) or mild (17.00-18.49). PTB was grouped as 22-27, 28-31, 32-36 or <37 weeks (compared with 37-41 weeks). Adjusted multivariable Poisson regression modeling was used to estimate relative risk for PTB.Risk of PTB.About 72 686 (7.6%) women were underweight. Increasing severity of underweight was associated with increasing percent PTB: 7.8% (n = 4421) in mild, 9.0% (n = 1001) in moderate and 10.2% (475) in severe underweight. The adjusted relative risk of PTB also significantly increased: adjusted relative risk (aRR) = 1.22 (95% CI 1.19-1.26) in mild, aRR = 1.41 (95% CI 1.32-1.50) in moderate and aRR = 1.61 (95% CI 1.47-1.76) in severe underweight. These findings were similar in spontaneous PTB, medically indicated PTB, and the gestational age groupings.Increasing severity of maternal prepregnancy underweight BMI was associated with increasing risk-adjusted PTB at <37 weeks. This increasing risk was of similar magnitude in spontaneous and medically indicated births and in preterm delivery at 28-31 and at 32-36 weeks of gestation.Increasing severity of maternal underweight BMI was associated with increasing risk of preterm birth.
View details for DOI 10.1111/1471-0528.14027
View details for PubMedID 27172996
Effective management of patients using warfarin is resource-intensive, requiring frequent in-clinic testing of the international normalized ratio (INR). Patient self-testing (PST) using portable at-home INR monitoring devices has emerged as a convenient alternative. As revealed by The Home INR Study (THINRS), event rates for PST were not significantly different from those for in-clinic high-quality anticoagulation management (HQACM), and a cumulative gain in quality of life was observed for patients undergoing PST.To perform a cost-utility analysis of weekly PST versus monthly HQACM and to examine the sensitivity of these results to testing frequency.In this study, 2922 patients taking warfarin for atrial fibrillation or mechanical heart valve, and who demonstrated PST competence, were randomized to either weekly PST (n = 1465) or monthly in-clinic testing (n = 1457). In a sub-study, 234 additional patients were randomized to PST once every 4 weeks (n = 116) or PST twice weekly (n = 118). The endpoints were quality of life (measured by the Health Utilities Index), health care utilization, and costs over 2 years of follow-up.PST and HQACM participants were similar with regard to gender, age, and CHADS2 score. The total cost per patient over 2 years of follow-up was $32,484 for HQACM and $33,460 for weekly PST, representing a difference of $976. The incremental cost per quality-adjusted life year gained with PST once weekly was $5566 (95 % CI, -$11,490 to $25,142). The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) was sensitive to testing frequency: weekly PST dominated PST twice weekly and once every 4 weeks. Compared to HQACM, weekly PST was associated with statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvements in quality of life. The ICER for weekly PST versus HQACM was well within accepted standards for cost-effectiveness, and was preferred over more or less frequent PST. These results were robust to sensitivity analyses of key assumptions.Weekly PST is a cost-effective alternative to monthly HQACM and a preferred testing frequency compared to twice weekly or monthly PST.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s11606-016-3700-8
View details for PubMedID 27234663
Regionalized care delivery purportedly optimizes care to vulnerable very low birth weight (VLBW; <1500 g) infants. However, a comprehensive assessment of quality of care delivery across different levels of NICUs has not been done.We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 21 051 VLBW infants in 134 California NICUs. NICUs designated their level of care according to 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. We assessed quality of care delivery via the Baby-MONITOR, a composite indicator, which combines 9 risk-adjusted measures of quality. Baby-MONITOR scores are measured as observed minus expected performance, expressed in standard units with a mean of 0 and an SD of 1.Wide variation in Baby-MONITOR scores exists across California (mean [SD] 0.18 (1.14), range -2.26 to 3.39). However, level of care was not associated with overall quality scores. Subcomponent analysis revealed trends for higher performance of Level IV NICUs on several process measures, including antenatal steroids and any human milk feeding at discharge, but lower scores for several outcomes including any health care associated infection, pneumothorax, and growth velocity. No other health system or organizational factors including hospital ownership, neonatologist coverage, urban or rural location, and hospital teaching status, were significantly associated with Baby-MONITOR scores.The comprehensive assessment of the effect of level of care on quality reveals differential opportunities for improvement and allows monitoring of efforts to ensure that fragile VLBW infants receive care in appropriate facilities.
View details for DOI 10.1542/peds.2014-4210
View details for PubMedID 26908663
Little is known about the economic implications of nursing home (NH) registered nurse (RN) tenure on resident outcomes. This study evaluated the cost-effectiveness of two nurse workforce scenarios focusing on RN tenure (high versus low), and the associated transfers from NH to the hospital.A decision tree was constructed to compare the incremental costs and effects of RN tenure scenarios on NH resident transfers to the hospital under two NH staffing scenarios: high versus low levels of RN tenure. Three outcomes were modeled: 1) dollars per hospitalization avoided, 2) dollars per hospitalization and death avoided, and 3) dollars per death avoided.The total costs of care for the low tenure scenario were $34,108 per month compared to the high tenure scenario at $29,442 per month. Effectiveness of the high tenure was greater across all 3 outcomes (incremental effectiveness ranged from 0.925 to 0.974 depending on outcome), indicating that high tenure was the dominant strategy (that is less costly and more effective).Higher RN tenure was a dominant strategy across the 3 outcomes. This was a fairly robust finding despite the variations in the model and uncertainty in the input parameters. Aligning quality outcomes with cost effectiveness is imperative to driving the direction of health policy in the United States. Better prevention of hospitalizations by having an experienced RN workforce will not only improve resident quality of care but will allow NHs to realize the value of retaining a skilled workforce.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.apnr.2015.05.001
View details for Web of Science ID 000370881800017
View details for PubMedID 26856495
The influence of race on quality of anticoagulation control is not well described. We examined the association between race, international normalized ratio (INR) monitoring intensity, and INR control in warfarin-treated patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). Using data from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), we performed a retrospective cohort study of 184,161 patients with a new diagnosis of AF/flutter from 2004 to 2012 who received any VHA prescription within 90 days of diagnosis. The primary predictor was race, ascertained from multiple VHA and linked Medicare demographic files. The primary outcome was first-year and long-term time in therapeutic range (TTR) of INR 2.0 to 3.0. Secondary outcomes were INR monitoring intensity and warfarin persistence. Of the 116,021 patients who received warfarin in the cohort, INR monitoring intensity was similar across racial groups. However, TTR was lowest in blacks and highest in whites (first year 0.49 ± 0.23 vs 0.57 ± 0.21, p <0.001; long term 0.52 ± 0.20 vs 0.59 ± 0.18, p <0.001); 64% of whites and 49% of blacks had long-term TTR >55% (p <0.001). After adjusting for site and patient-level covariates, black race was associated with lower first-year and long-term TTRs (4.2% and 4.1% below the conditional mean, relative to whites; p <0.0001 for both). One-year warfarin persistence was slightly lower in blacks compared to whites (58% vs 60%, p <0.0001). In conclusion, in patients with AF anticoagulated with warfarin, differences in INR control are most evident among blacks, underscoring the need to determine if other types of intensive management or warfarin alternatives may be necessary to improve anticoagulation among vulnerable AF populations.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.amjcard.2015.09.047
View details for Web of Science ID 000368048900010
View details for PubMedID 26552504
Patient self-testing (PST) improves anticoagulation control and patient satisfaction. It is unknown whether these effects are more pronounced when the patient lives farther from the anticoagulation clinic (ACC). If the benefits of PST are limited to a subset of patients (those living farther from care), selectively providing PST to that subset could enhance cost-effectiveness.This is a secondary analysis of a randomized trial of PST versus usual ACC care, which involved 2922 patients of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).Our 3 outcomes were the primary composite clinical end point (stroke, major hemorrhage, or death), anticoagulation control (percent time in therapeutic range), and satisfaction with anticoagulation care. We measured the driving distance between the patient's residence and the nearest VHA facility. We divided patients into quartiles by distance and looked for evidence of an interaction between distance and the effect of the intervention on the 3 outcomes.The median driving distance was 12 miles (interquartile range = 6-21). Patients living in the farthest quartile had higher rates of the primary composite clinical end point in both groups compared with patients living in the nearest quartile. For PST, the hazard ratio (HR) was 1.77 (95% CI, 1.18-2.64), and for usual care, the HR was 1.81 (95% CI, 1.19-2.75). Interaction terms did not suggest that distance to care modified the effect of the intervention on any outcome.The benefits of PST were not enhanced among patients living farther from care. Restricting PST to patients living more than a certain distance from the ACC is not likely to improve its cost-effectiveness.
View details for Web of Science ID 000373570700010
View details for PubMedID 26799126
There are limited data on mortality outcomes associated with use of amiodarone in atrial fibrillation and flutter (AF).We evaluated the association of amiodarone use with mortality in patients with newly diagnosed AF using complete data from the Department of Veterans Affairs national health care system. We included patients seen in an outpatient setting within 90 days of a new diagnosis for nonvalvular AF between Veterans Affairs fiscal years 2004 and 2008. Multivariate analysis and propensity-matched Cox proportional hazards regression were used to evaluate the association of amiodarone use to death.Of 122,465 patients (353,168 person-years of follow-up, age 72.1 ± 10.3 years, 98.4% males), amiodarone was prescribed in 11,655 (9.5%). Cumulative, unadjusted mortality rates were higher for amiodarone recipients than for nonrecipients (87 vs 73 per 1,000 person-years, P < .001). However, in multivariate and propensity-matched survival analyses, there was no significant difference in mortality (multivariate hazard ratio 1.01, 95% CI 0.97-1.05, P = .51, and propensity-matched hazard ratio 1.02, 95% CI 0.97-1.07, P = .45). The hazard of death was not modified by age, sex, heart failure, kidney function, β-blocker use, or warfarin use, but there was evidence of effect modification among patients diagnosed with AF as an inpatient versus outpatient.In a national health care system population of newly diagnosed AF, overall use of amiodarone as an early treatment strategy was not associated with mortality.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ahj.2015.07.023
View details for PubMedID 26542514
To characterize warfarin eligibility and receipt among Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patients with and without mental health conditions (MHCs).Retrospective cohort study.This observational study identified VHA atrial fibrillation (AF) patients with and without MHCs in 2004. We examined unadjusted MHC-related differences in warfarin eligibility and warfarin receipt among warfarin-eligible patients, using logistic regression for any MHC and for specific MHCs (adjusting for sociodemographic and clinical characteristics).Of 125,670 patients with AF, most (96.8%) were warfarin-eligible based on a CHADS2 stroke risk score. High stroke risk and contraindications to anticoagulation were both more common in patients with MHC. Warfarin-eligible patients with MHC were less likely to receive warfarin than those without MHC (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 0.90; 95% CI, 0.87-0.94). The association between MHC and warfarin receipt among warfarin-eligible patients varied by specific MHC. Patients with anxiety disorders (AOR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.80-0.93), psychotic disorders (AOR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.65-0.90), and alcohol use disorders (AOR 0.62, 95% CI 0.54-0.72) were less likely to receive warfarin than patients without these conditions, whereas patients with depressive disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder were no less likely to receive warfarin than patients without these conditions.Compared with patients with AF without MHCs, those with MHCs are less likely to be eligible for warfarin receipt and, among those eligible, are less likely to receive such treatment. Although patients with AF with MHC need careful assessment of bleeding risk, this finding suggests potential missed opportunities for more intensive therapy among some individuals with MHCs.
View details for Web of Science ID 000379911700003
View details for PubMedID 26735294
Patients who require invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV) often represent a sequence of care between the emergency department (ED) and intensive care unit (ICU). Despite being the most populous state, little information exists to define patterns of IMV use within the state of California.We examined data from the masked Patient Discharge Database of California's Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development from 2000-2009. Adult patients who received IMV during their stay were identified using the International Classification of Diseases 9th Revision and Clinical Modification procedure codes (96.70, 96.71, 96.72). Patients were divided into age strata (18-34yr, 35-64yr, and >65yr). Using descriptive statistics and regression analyses, for IMV discharges during the study period, we quantified the number of ED vs. non-ED based admissions; changes in patient characteristics and clinical outcome; evaluated the marginal costs for IMV; determined predictors for prolonged acute mechanical ventilation (PAMV, i.e. IMV>96hr); and projected the number of IMV discharges and ED-based admissions by year 2020.There were 696,634 IMV discharges available for analysis. From 2000-2009, IMV discharges increased by 2.8%/year: n=60,933 (293/100,000 persons) in 2000 to n=79,868 (328/100,000 persons) in 2009. While ED-based admissions grew by 3.8%/year, non-ED-based admissions remained stable (0%). During 2000-2009, fastest growth was noted for 1) the 35-64 year age strata; 2) Hispanics; 3) patients with non-Medicare public insurance; and 4) patients requiring PAMV. Average total patient cost-adjusted charges per hospital discharge increased by 29% from 2000 (from $42,528 to $60,215 in 2014 dollars) along with increases in the number of patients discharged to home and skilled nursing facilities. Higher marginal costs were noted for younger patients (ages 18-34yr), non-whites, and publicly insured patients. Some of the strongest predictors for PAMV were age 35-64 years (OR=1.12; 95% CI [1.09-1.14], p<0.05); non-Whites; and non-Medicare public insurance. Our models suggest that by 2020, IMV discharges will grow to n=153,153 (377 IMV discharges/100,000 persons) with 99,095 admitted through the ED.Based on sustained growth over the past decade, by the year 2020, we project a further increase to 153,153 IMV discharges with 99,095 admitted through the ED. Given limited ICU bed capacities, ongoing increases in the number and type of IMV patients have the potential to adversely affect California EDs that often admit patients to ICUs.
View details for DOI 10.5811/westjem.2015.6.25736
View details for PubMedID 26587094
Anticoagulation (AC) is effective in reducing thromboembolic events for individuals with atrial fibrillation (AF) or mechanical heart valve (MHV), but maintaining patients in target range for international normalized ratio (INR) can be difficult. Evidence suggests increasing INR testing frequency can improve time in target range (TTR), but this can be impractical with in-clinic testing. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that more frequent patient-self testing (PST) via home monitoring increases TTR. This planned substudy was conducted as part of The Home INR Study, a randomized controlled trial of in-clinic INR testing every 4 weeks versus PST at three different intervals. The setting for this study was 6 VA centers across the United States. 1,029 candidates with AF or MHV were trained and tested for competency using ProTime INR meters; 787 patients were deemed competent and, after second consent, randomized across four arms: high quality AC management (HQACM) in a dedicated clinic, with venous INR testing once every 4 weeks; and telephone monitored PST once every 4 weeks; weekly; and twice weekly. The primary endpoint was TTR at 1-year follow-up. The secondary endpoints were: major bleed, stroke and death, and quality of life. Results showed that TTR increased as testing frequency increased (59.9 ± 16.7 %, 63.3 ± 14.3 %, and 66.8 ± 13.2 % [mean ± SD] for the groups that underwent PST every 4 weeks, weekly and twice weekly, respectively). The proportion of poorly managed patients (i.e., TTR <50 %) was significantly lower for groups that underwent PST versus HQACM, and the proportion decreased as testing frequency increased. Patients and their care providers were unblinded given the nature of PST and HQACM. In conclusion, more frequent PST improved TTR and reduced the proportion of poorly managed patients.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s11239-014-1128-8
View details for Web of Science ID 000355219300003
View details for PubMedID 25209313
Despite years of research, the etiologies of preterm birth remain unclear. In order to help generate new research hypotheses, this study explored spatial and temporal patterns of preterm birth in a large, total-population dataset.Data on 145 million US births in 3,000 counties from the Natality Files of the National Center for Health Statistics for 1971-2011 were examined. State trends in early (<34 wk) and late (34-36 wk) preterm birth rates were compared. K-means cluster analyses were conducted to identify gestational age distribution patterns for all US counties over time.A weak association was observed between state trends in <34 wk birth rates and the initial absolute <34 wk birth rate. Significant associations were observed between trends in <34 wk and 34-36 wk birth rates and between white and African American <34 wk births. Periodicity was observed in county-level trends in <34 wk birth rates. Cluster analyses identified periods of significant heterogeneity and homogeneity in gestational age distributional trends for US counties.The observed geographic and temporal patterns suggest periodicity and complex, shared influences among preterm birth rates in the United States. These patterns could provide insight into promising hypotheses for further research.
View details for DOI 10.1038/pr.2015.55
View details for Web of Science ID 000354755000017
View details for PubMedID 25760546
Travel time, an access barrier, may contribute to attrition of women veterans from Veterans Health Administration (VHA) care.We examined whether travel time influences attrition: (a) among women veterans overall, (b) among new versus established patients, and (c) among rural versus urban patients.This retrospective cohort study used logistic regression to estimate the association between drive time and attrition, overall and for new/established and rural/urban patients.In total, 266,301 women veteran VHA outpatients in the Fiscal year 2009.An "attriter" did not return for VHA care during the second through third years after her first 2009 visit (T0). Drive time (log minutes) was between the patient's residence and her regular source of VHA care. "New" patients had no VHA visits within 3 years before T0. Models included age, service-connected disability, health status, and utilization as covariates.Overall, longer drive times were associated with higher odds of attrition: drive time adjusted odds ratio=1.11 (99% confidence interval, 1.09-1.14). The relationship between drive time and attrition was stronger among new patients but was not modified by rurality.Attrition among women veterans is sensitive to longer drive time. Linking new patients to VHA services designed to reduce distance barriers (telemedicine, community-based clinics, mobile clinics) may reduce attrition among women new to VHA.
View details for DOI 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000296
View details for PubMedID 25767970
Veterans Health Administration (VHA) primary care providers (PCPs) often see few women, making it challenging to maintain proficiency in women's health (WH). Therefore, VHA in 2010 established Designated WH Providers, who would maintain proficiency in comprehensive WH care and be preferentially assigned women patients.To evaluate early implementation of this national policy.At each VHA health care system (N=140), the Women Veterans Program Manager completed a Fiscal Year 2012 workforce capacity assessment (response rate, 100%), representing the first time the national Designated WH Provider workforce had been identified. Assessment data were linked to administrative data.Of all VHA PCPs, 23% were Designated WH Providers; 100% of health care systems and 83% of community clinics had at least 1 Designated WH Provider. On average, women veterans comprised 19% (SD=27%) of the patients Designated WH Providers saw in primary care, versus 5% (SD=7%) for Other PCPs (P<0.001). For women veterans using primary care (N=313,033), new patients were less likely to see a Designated WH Provider than established women veteran patients (52% vs. 64%; P<0.001).VHA has achieved its goal of a Designated WH Provider in every health care system, and is approaching its goal of a Designated WH Provider at every hospital/community clinic. Designated WH Providers see more women than do Other PCPs. However, as the volume of women patients remains low for many providers, attention to alternative approaches to maintaining proficiency may prove necessary, and barriers to assigning new women patients to Designated WH Providers merit attention.
View details for DOI 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000298
View details for PubMedID 25767974
Little is known regarding the reproductive health needs of women Veterans using Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care.To describe the reproductive health diagnoses of women Veterans using VA health care, how these diagnoses differ across age groups, and variations in sociodemographic and clinical characteristics by presence of reproductive health diagnoses.This study is a cross-sectional analysis of VA administrative and clinical data.The study included women Veterans using VA health care in FY10.Reproductive health diagnoses were identified through presence of International Classification of Disease, 9th Revision (ICD-9) codes in VA clinical and administrative records. The prevalence of specific diagnosis categories were examined by age group (18-44, 45-64, ≥65 y) and the most frequent diagnoses for each age group were identified. Sociodemographic and clinical characteristics were compared by presence of at least 1 reproductive health diagnosis.The most frequent reproductive health diagnoses were menstrual disorders and endometriosis among those aged 18-44 years (n=16,658, 13%), menopausal disorders among those aged 45-64 years (n=20,707, 15%), and osteoporosis among those aged ≥65 years (n=8365, 22%). Compared with women without reproductive health diagnoses, those with such diagnoses were more likely to have concomitant mental health (46% vs. 37%, P<0.001) and medical conditions (75% vs. 63%, P<0.001).Women Veterans using VA health care have diverse reproductive health diagnoses. The high prevalence of comorbid medical and mental health conditions among women Veterans with reproductive health diagnoses highlights the importance of integrating reproductive health expertise into all areas of VA health care, including primary, mental health, and specialty care.
View details for DOI 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000295
View details for PubMedID 25767978
To examine effects of workforce characteristics on resident infections in Veterans Affairs (VA) Community Living Centers (CLCs).A 6-year panel of monthly, unit-specific data included workforce characteristics (from the VA Decision Support System and Payroll data) and characteristics of residents and outcome measures (from the Minimum Data Set).A resident infection composite was the dependent variable. Workforce characteristics of registered nurses (RN), licensed practical nurses (LPN), nurse aides (NA), and contract nurses included: staffing levels, skill mix, and tenure. Descriptive statistics and unit-level fixed effects regressions were conducted. Robustness checks varying workforce and outcome parameters were examined.Average nursing hours per resident day was 4.59 hours (SD=1.21). RN tenure averaged 4.7 years (SD=1.64) and 4.2 years for both LPN (SD=1.84) and NA (SD=1.72). In multivariate analyses RN and LPN tenure were associated with decreased infections by 3.8% (incident rate ratio [IRR]=0.962, P<0.01) and 2% (IRR=0.98, P<0.01) respectively. Robustness checks consistently found RN and LPN tenure to be associated with decreased infections.Increasing RN and LPN tenure are likely to reduce CLC resident infections. Administrators and policymakers need to focus on recruiting and retaining a skilled nursing workforce.
View details for Web of Science ID 000349775400007
View details for PubMedID 25634087
Mental health services for women vary widely across the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) system, without consensus on the need for, or organization of, specialized services for women. Understanding women's needs and priorities is essential to guide the implementation of patient-centered behavioral health services.In a cross-sectional, multisite survey of female veterans using primary care, potential stakeholders were identified for VHA mental health services by assessing perceived or observed need for mental health services. These stakeholders (N=484) ranked priorities for mental health care among a wide range of possible services. The investigators then quantified the importance of having designated women's mental health services for each of the mental health services that emerged as key priorities.Treatment for depression, pain management, coping with chronic general medical conditions, sleep problems, weight management, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) emerged as women's key priorities. Having mental health services specialized for women was rated as extremely important to substantial proportions of women for each of the six prioritized services. Preference for primary care colocation was strongly associated with higher importance ratings for designated women's mental health services. For specific types of services, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, PTSD symptoms, and psychiatric comorbidity were also associated with higher importance ratings for designated women's services.Female veterans are a diverse population whose needs and preferences for mental health services vary along demographic and clinical factors. These stakeholder perspectives can help prioritize structural and clinical aspects of designated women's mental health care in the VHA.
View details for DOI 10.1176/appi.ps.201300551
View details for PubMedID 25642611
Regional referral systems are considered important for children hospitalized for surgery, but there is little information on existing systems.To examine geographic variations in anesthetic caseloads in California for surgical inpatients ≤6 years and to evaluate the feasibility of regionalizing anesthetic care.We reviewed California's unmasked patient discharge database between 2000 and 2009 to determine surgical procedures, dates, and inpatient anesthetic caseloads. Hospitals were classified as urban or rural and were further stratified as low, intermediate, high, and very high volume.We reviewed 257,541 anesthetic cases from 402 hospitals. Seventeen California Children's Services (CCS) hospitals conducted about two-thirds of all inpatient anesthetics; 385 non-CCS hospitals accounted for the rest. Urban hospitals comprised 82% of low- and intermediate-volume centers (n = 297) and 100% of the high- and very high-volume centers (n = 41). Ninety percent (n = 361) of hospitals performed <100 cases annually. Although potentially lower risk procedures such as appendectomies were the most frequent in urban low- and intermediate-volume hospitals, fairly complex neurosurgical and general surgeries were also performed. The median distance from urban lower-volume hospitals to the nearest high- or very high-volume center was 12 miles. Up to 98% (n = 40,316) of inpatient anesthetics at low- or intermediate-volume centers could have been transferred to higher-volume centers within 25 miles of smaller centers.Many urban California hospitals maintained low annual inpatient anesthetic caseloads for children ≤6 years while conducting potentially more complex procedures. Further efforts are necessary to define the scope of pediatric anesthetic care at urban low- and intermediate-volume hospitals in California.
View details for DOI 10.1111/pan.12500
View details for PubMedID 25203670
To evaluate the association between antenatal posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and spontaneous preterm delivery.We identified antenatal PTSD status and spontaneous preterm delivery in a retrospective cohort of 16,334 deliveries covered by the Veterans Health Administration from 2000 to 2012. We divided mothers with PTSD into those with diagnoses present the year before delivery (active PTSD) and those only with earlier diagnoses (historical PTSD). We identified spontaneous preterm birth and potential confounders including age, race, military deployment, twins, hypertension, substance use, depression, and results of military sexual trauma screening and then performed multivariate regression to estimate adjusted odds ratio (OR) of spontaneous preterm delivery as a function of PTSD status.Of 16,334 births, 3,049 (19%) were to mothers with PTSD diagnoses, of whom 1,921 (12%) had active PTSD. Spontaneous preterm delivery was higher in those with active PTSD (9.2%, n=176) than those with historical (8.0%, n=90) or no PTSD (7.4%, n=982) before adjustment (P=.02). The association between PTSD and preterm birth persisted, when adjusting for covariates, only in those with active PTSD (adjusted OR 1.35, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.14-1.61). Analyses adjusting for comorbid psychiatric and medical diagnoses revealed the association with active PTSD to be robust.In this cohort, containing an unprecedented number of PTSD-affected pregnancies, mothers with active PTSD were significantly more likely to suffer spontaneous preterm birth with an attributable two excess preterm births per 100 deliveries (95% CI 1-4). Posttraumatic stress disorder's health effects may extend, through birth outcomes, into the next generation.
View details for DOI 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000542
View details for PubMedID 25415162
Despite endorsement of digoxin in clinical practice guidelines, there exist limited data on its safety in atrial fibrillation/flutter (AF).The goal of this study was to evaluate the association of digoxin with mortality in AF.Using complete data of the TREAT-AF (The Retrospective Evaluation and Assessment of Therapies in AF) study from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system, we identified patients with newly diagnosed, nonvalvular AF seen within 90 days in an outpatient setting between VA fiscal years 2004 and 2008. We used multivariate and propensity-matched Cox proportional hazards to evaluate the association of digoxin use with death. Residual confounding was assessed by sensitivity analysis.Of 122,465 patients with 353,168 person-years of follow-up (age 72.1 ± 10.3 years, 98.4% male), 28,679 (23.4%) patients received digoxin. Cumulative mortality rates were higher for digoxin-treated patients than for untreated patients (95 vs. 67 per 1,000 person-years; p < 0.001). Digoxin use was independently associated with mortality after multivariate adjustment (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.26, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.23 to 1.29, p < 0.001) and propensity matching (HR: 1.21, 95% CI: 1.17 to 1.25, p < 0.001), even after adjustment for drug adherence. The risk of death was not modified by age, sex, heart failure, kidney function, or concomitant use of beta-blockers, amiodarone, or warfarin.Digoxin was associated with increased risk of death in patients with newly diagnosed AF, independent of drug adherence, kidney function, cardiovascular comorbidities, and concomitant therapies. These findings challenge current cardiovascular society recommendations on use of digoxin in AF.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jacc.2014.03.060
View details for Web of Science ID 000340243300005
View details for PubMedID 25125296
Findings from studies examining risk of preterm birth associated with elevated prepregnancy body mass index (BMI) have been inconsistent.Within a large population-based cohort, we explored associations between prepregnancy BMI and spontaneous preterm birth across a spectrum of BMI, gestational age, and racial/ethnic categories. We analysed data for 989 687 singleton births in California, 2007-09. Preterm birth was grouped as 20-23, 24-27, 28-31, or 32-36 weeks gestation (compared with 37-41 weeks). BMI was categorised as <18.5 (underweight); 18.5-24.9 (normal); 25.0-29.9 (overweight); 30.0-34.9 (obese I); 35.0-39.9 (obese II); and ≥40.0 (obese III). We assessed associations between BMI and spontaneous preterm birth of varying severity among non-Hispanic White, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic Black women.Analyses of mothers without hypertension and diabetes, adjusted for age, education, height, and prenatal care initiation, showed obesity categories I-III to be associated with increased risk of spontaneous preterm birth at 20-23 and 24-27 weeks among those of parity 1 in each race/ethnic group. Relative risks for obese III and preterm birth at 20-23 weeks were 6.29 [95% confidence interval (CI) 3.06, 12.9], 4.34 [95% CI 2.30, 8.16], and 4.45 [95% CI 2.53, 7.82] for non-Hispanic Whites, non-Hispanic Blacks, and Hispanics, respectively. A similar, but lower risk, pattern was observed for women of parity ≥2 and preterm birth at 20-23 weeks. Underweight was associated with modest risks for preterm birth at ≥24 weeks among women in each racial/ethnic group regardless of parity.The association between women's prepregnancy BMI and risk of spontaneous preterm birth is complex and is influenced by race/ethnicity, gestational age, and parity.
View details for DOI 10.1111/ppe.12125
View details for Web of Science ID 000337614300005
View details for PubMedID 24810721
In hospitals, nurses provide patient care around the clock, but the impact of night staff characteristics on patient outcomes is not well understood. The aim of this study was to examine the association between night nurse staffing and workforce characteristics and the length of stay (LOS) in 138 veterans affairs (VA) hospitals using panel data from 2002 through 2006. Staffing in hours per patient day was higher during the day than at night. The day nurse workforce had more educational preparation than the night workforce. Nurses' years of experience at the unit, facility, and VA level were greater at night. In multivariable analyses controlling for confounding variables, higher night staffing and a higher skill mix were associated with reduced LOS.
View details for DOI 10.1002/nur.21582
View details for PubMedID 24403000
The impact of health information technology (HIT) in hospitals is dependent in large part on how it is used by nurses. This study examines the impact of HIT on the quality of care in hospitals in the Veterans Health Administration (VA), focusing on nurse-sensitive outcomes from 1995 to 2005.Data were obtained from VA databases and original data collection. Fixed-effects Poisson regression was used, with the dependent variables measured using the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Inpatient Quality Indicators and Patient Safety Indicators software. Dummy variables indicated when each facility began and completed implementation of each type of HIT. Other explanatory variables included hospital volume, patient characteristics, nurse characteristics, and a quadratic time trend.The start of computerized patient record implementation was associated with significantly lower mortality for two diagnoses but significantly higher pressure ulcer rates, and full implementation was associated with significantly more hospital-acquired infections. The start of bar-code medication administration implementation was linked to significantly lower mortality for one diagnosis, but full implementation was not linked to any change in patient outcomes.The commencement of HIT implementation had mixed effects on patient outcomes, and the completion of implementation had little or no effect on outcomes.This longitudinal study provides little support for the perception of VA staff and leaders that HIT has improved mortality rates or nurse-sensitive patient outcomes. Future research should examine patient outcomes associated with specific care processes affected by HIT.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.hjdsi.2013.12.009
View details for PubMedID 26250088
An increasing number of young women veterans are returning from war and military service and are seeking reproductive health care from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Many of these women seek maternity benefits from the VHA, and yet little is known regarding the number of women veterans utilizing VHA maternity benefits nor the characteristics of pregnant veterans using these benefits. In May 2010, VHA maternity benefits were expanded to include 7 days of infant care, which may serve to entice more women to use VHA maternity benefits. Understanding the changing trends in women veterans seeking maternity benefits will help the VHA to improve the quality of reproductive care over time.The goal of this study was to examine the trends in delivery claims among women veterans receiving VHA maternity benefits over a 5-year period and the characteristics of pregnant veterans utilizing VHA benefits.We undertook a retrospective, national cohort study of pregnant veterans enrolled in VHA care with inpatient deliveries between fiscal years (FY) 2008 and 2012.We included pregnant veterans using VHA maternity benefits for delivery.Measures included annualized numbers and rates of inpatient deliveries and delivery-related costs, as well as cesarean section rates as a quality indicator.During the 5-year study period, there was a significant increase in the number of deliveries to women veterans using VHA maternity benefits. The overall delivery rate increased by 44% over the study period from 12.4 to 17.8 deliveries per 1,000 women veterans. A majority of women using VHA maternity benefits were age 30 or older and had a service-connected disability. From FY 2008 to 2012, the VHA paid more than $46 million in delivery claims to community providers for deliveries to women veterans ($4,993/veteran).Over a 5-year period, the volume of women veterans using VHA maternity benefits increased by 44%. Given this sizeable increase, the VHA must increase its capacity to care for pregnant veterans and ensure care coordination systems are in place to address the needs of pregnant veterans with service-connected disabilities.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.whi.2013.10.002
View details for PubMedID 24439945
Trauma centers (TCs) have been shown to decrease mortality in adults, but this has not been demonstrated at a population level in all children. We hypothesized that seriously injured children would have increased survival in a TC versus nontrauma center (nTC), but there would be no increased benefit from pediatric-designated versus adult TC care.This was a retrospective study of the unmasked California Office of Statewide Health and Planning Department patient discharge database (1999-2011). DRG International Classification of Diseases-9th Rev. (ICD-9) diagnostic codes indicating trauma were identified for children (0-18 years), and injury severity was calculated from ICD-9 codes using validated algorithms. To adjust for hospital case mix, we selected patients with ICD-9 codes that were capable of causing death and which appeared at both TCs and nTCs. Instrumental variable (IV) analysis using differential distance between the child's residence to a TC and to the nearest hospital was applied to further adjust for unobservable differences in TC and nTC populations. Instrumental variable regression models analyzed the association between mortality and TC versus nTC care as well as for pediatric versus adult TC designations, adjusting for demographic and clinical variables.Unadjusted mortality for the entire population of children with nontrivial trauma (n = 445,236) was 1.2%. In the final study population (n = 77,874), mortality was 5.3%, 3.8% in nTCs and 6.1% in TCs. IV regression analysis demonstrated a 0.79 percentage point (95% confidence interval, -0.80 to -0.30; p = 0.044) decrease in mortality for children cared for in TC versus nTC. No decrease in mortality was demonstrated for children cared for in pediatric versus adult TCs.Our IV TC outcome models use improved injury severity and case mix adjustment to demonstrate decreased mortality for seriously injured California children treated in TCs. These results can be used to take evidence-based steps to decrease disparities in pediatric access to, and subsequent outcomes for, trauma care.Therapeutic/care management, level III.
View details for DOI 10.1097/TA.0b013e31829a0a65
View details for PubMedID 24064887
Few blinded trials have compared conventional therapy consisting of a combination of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs with biologic agents in patients with rheumatoid arthritis who have active disease despite treatment with methotrexate--a common scenario in the management of rheumatoid arthritis.We conducted a 48-week, double-blind, noninferiority trial in which we randomly assigned 353 participants with rheumatoid arthritis who had active disease despite methotrexate therapy to a triple regimen of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (methotrexate, sulfasalazine, and hydroxychloroquine) or etanercept plus methotrexate. Patients who did not have an improvement at 24 weeks according to a prespecified threshold were switched in a blinded fashion to the other therapy. The primary outcome was improvement in the Disease Activity Score for 28-joint counts (DAS28, with scores ranging from 2 to 10 and higher scores indicating more disease activity) at week 48.Both groups had significant improvement over the course of the first 24 weeks (P=0.001 for the comparison with baseline). A total of 27% of participants in each group required a switch in treatment at 24 weeks. Participants in both groups who switched therapies had improvement after switching (P<0.001), and the response after switching did not differ significantly between the two groups (P=0.08). The change between baseline and 48 weeks in the DAS28 was similar in the two groups (-2.1 with triple therapy and -2.3 with etanercept and methotrexate, P=0.26); triple therapy was noninferior to etanercept and methotrexate, since the 95% upper confidence limit of 0.41 for the difference in change in DAS28 was below the margin for noninferiority of 0.6 (P=0.002). There were no significant between-group differences in secondary outcomes, including radiographic progression, pain, and health-related quality of life, or in major adverse events associated with the medications.With respect to clinical benefit, triple therapy, with sulfasalazine and hydroxychloroquine added to methotrexate, was noninferior to etanercept plus methotrexate in patients with rheumatoid arthritis who had active disease despite methotrexate therapy. (Funded by the Cooperative Studies Program, Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Research and Development, and others; CSP 551 RACAT ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00405275.)
View details for DOI 10.1056/NEJMoa1303006
View details for Web of Science ID 000322223900006
View details for PubMedID 23755969
The purpose of this paper is to qualitatively explore registered nurse perceptions of off-shift (e.g. nights and weekends) nursing care and quality compared with regular hours.Patients admitted to hospitals on off-shifts have worse outcomes than patients admitted on more regular hours. The underlying mechanism for this association is not well understood.In-depth semi-structured interviews of 23 registered nurses and four observer-as-participant observations were conducted on both medical-surgical and intensive care units in two large (>850 beds) tertiary hospitals. Content analysis was used to identify themes.Six themes emerged: (1) collaboration among self-reliant night nurses; (2) completing tasks; (3) taking a breather on weekend day shift; (4) new nurse requirement to work at night; (5) mixture of registered nurse personnel; and (6) night nurse perception of under-appreciation.Although nurses collaborate, complete more tasks and work with other types of registered nurses, the decreased resources available on off-shifts may affect quality care delivered in hospitals.These findings support the importance of management to provide sufficient resources in terms of ancillary personnel and balance less experienced staff. Facilitating communication between night and day nurses may help allay night nurses' feelings of under-appreciation.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2834.2012.01417.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000316127500009
View details for PubMedID 23409837
Atrial fibrillation and flutter (AF, collectively) cause stroke. We evaluated whether treating specialty influences warfarin prescription in patients with newly diagnosed AF.In the TREAT-AF study, we used Veterans Health Administration health record and claims data to identify patients with newly diagnosed AF between October 2004 and November 2008 and at least 1 internal medicine/primary care or cardiology outpatient encounter within 90 days after diagnosis. The primary outcome was prescription of warfarin.In 141,642 patients meeting the inclusion criteria, the mean age was 72.3 ± 10.2 years, 1.48% were women, and 25.8% had cardiology outpatient care. Cardiology-treated patients had more comorbidities and higher mean CHADS2 scores (1.8 vs 1.6, P < .0001). Warfarin use was higher in cardiology-treated vs primary care only-treated patients (68.6% vs 48.9%, P < .0001). After covariate and site-level adjustment, cardiology care was significantly associated with warfarin use (odds ratio [OR] 2.05, 95% CI 1.99-2.11). These findings were consistent across a series of adjusted models (OR 2.05-2.20), propensity matching (OR 1.98), and subgroup analyses (OR 1.58-2.11). Warfarin use in primary-care-only patients declined from 2004 to 2008 (51.6%-44.0%, P < .0001), whereas the adjusted odds of warfarin receipt with cardiology care (vs primary care) increased from 2004 to 2008 (1.88-2.24, P < .0001).In patients with newly diagnosed AF, we found large differences in anticoagulation use by treating specialty. A divergent 5-year trend of risk-adjusted warfarin use was observed. Treating specialty influences stroke prevention care and may impact clinical outcomes.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ahj.2012.10.010
View details for PubMedID 23237139
View details for PubMedID 23807057
This article is a report of a review that aimed to synthesize qualitative and quantitative evidence of 'off-shifts' (nights, weekends and/or holidays) on quality and employee outcomes in hospitals.Healthcare workers provide 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week service. Quality and employee outcomes may differ on off-shifts as compared to regular hours.Searches for studies occurred between the years 1985-2011 using computerized databases including Business Source Complete, EconLit, ProQuest, PubMed and MEDLINE. REVIEW DESIGN AND METHODS: Design was a mixed-method systematic review with quantitative and qualitative studies. To be included, studies met the following criteria: (1) the independent variable was an off-shift; (2) the article was a research study and peer-reviewed; (3) the article could be obtained in English; and (4) the article pertained to health care. Studies were not excluded on design.Sixty studies were included. There were 37 quality outcome, 19 employee outcome and four qualitative studies. In the quality outcome studies, researchers often used quantitative, longitudinal study designs with large sample sizes. Researchers found important differences between patients admitted on weekends and mortality. Important differences were also found between nighttime birth and mortality and rotating night work and fatigue, stress and low mental well-being. Most studies (9 of 12) did not find an important association between patients admitted at night and mortality.Patient outcomes on weekends and employee outcomes at night are worse than during the day. It is important to further investigate why care on off-shifts differs from weekly day shifts.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2012.05976.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000305514900003
View details for PubMedID 22905343
We examined rates of specific health conditions among female veteran patients and how the share of health care costs attributable to these conditions changed in the Veterans Affairs system between 2000 and 2008.Veterans' Administration (VA)-provided and VA-sponsored inpatient, outpatient, and pharmacy utilization and cost files were analyzed for women veterans receiving care in 2000 and 2008. We estimated rates of 42 common health conditions and per-patient condition costs from a regression model and calculated the total population costs attributable to each condition and changes by year.The number of female VA patients increased from 156,305 in 2000 to 266,978 in 2008; 88% were under 65 years of age. The rate of women treated for specific conditions increased substantially for many gender-specific and psychiatric conditions: For example, pregnancy increased 133%, diagnosed posttraumatic stress disorder increased 106%, and diagnosed depression increased 41%. Mean costs of care increased from $4,962 per woman in 2000 to $6,570 per woman in 2008. Psychiatric conditions accounted for more than one quarter of population health care costs in 2008. Gender-specific conditions and musculoskeletal diseases accounted for a rising share of population costs and rose to 8.2% and 8.7% of population costs in 2008, respectively.Gender-specific, cancer, musculoskeletal, and mental health and substance use disorders accounted for a greater share of overall costs during the study period and were primarily driven by higher rates of diagnosed conditions and, for several conditions, higher treatment costs.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.whi.2012.03.002
View details for PubMedID 22555220
To identify the factors and strategies that were associated with successful implementation of hospital-based information technology (IT) systems in US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, and how these might apply to other hospitals.Qualitative analysis of 118 interviews conducted at 7 VA hospitals. The study focused on the inpatient setting, where nurses are the main patient-care providers; thus, the research emphasized the impact of Computerized Patient Record System and Bar Code Medication Administration on nurses. Hospitals were selected to represent a range of IT implementation dates, facility sizes, and geography. The subjects included nurses, pharmacists, physicians, IT staff, and managers. Interviews were guided by a semi-structured interview protocol, and a thematic analysis was conducted, with initial codes drawn from the content of the interview guides. Additional themes were proposed as the coding was conducted.Five broad themes arose as factors which affected the process and success of implementation: (1) organizational stability and implementation team leadership, (2) implementation timelines, (3) equipment availability and reliability, (4) staff training, and (5) changes in work flowOverall IT implementation success in the VA depended on: (1) whether there was support for change from both leaders and staff, (2) development of a gradual and flexible implementation approach, (3) allocation of adequate resources for equipment and infrastructure, hands-on support, and deployment of additional staff, and (4) how the implementation team planned for setbacks, and continued the process to achieve success. Problems that developed in the early stages of implementation tended to become persistent, and poor implementation can lead to patient harm.
View details for Web of Science ID 000308442600004
View details for PubMedID 22435909
The change in prevalence and total Veterans Affairs (VA) spending were estimated for 16 chronic condition categories between 2000 and 2008. The drivers of changes in spending also were examined. Chronic conditions were identified through diagnoses in encounter records, and treatment costs per patient were estimated using VA cost data and regression models. The estimated differences in total VA spending between 2000 and 2008 and the contributions of population increase, differences in prevalence, and differences in treatment costs were evaluated. Most of the spending increases during the study period were driven by the increase in the VA patient population from 3.3 million in 2000 to 4.9 million in 2008. Spending on renal failure increased the most, by more than $1.5 billion, primarily because of higher prevalence. Higher treatment costs did not contribute much to higher spending; lower costs per patient for several conditions may have helped to slow spending for diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart conditions, renal failure, dementia, and stroke. Lowering treatment costs per patient for common conditions can help slow spending for chronic conditions, but most of the increase in spending in the study period was the result of more patients seeking care from VA providers and the higher prevalence of conditions among patients. As the VA patient population continues to age and to develop more co-morbidities, and as returning veterans seek care for service-related problems, higher spending on chronic conditions will become a more prominent issue for the VA health care system.
View details for DOI 10.1089/pop.2010.0079
View details for Web of Science ID 000298292600004
View details for PubMedID 22044350
The objective of this study was to examine the effect of hospital-level factors on mortality of very low birth weight infants using multilevel modeling.This is a secondary data analysis of California maternal-infant hospital discharge data from 1997 to 2002. The study population was limited to singleton, non-anomalous, very low birth weight infants, who delivered in hospitals providing neonatal intensive care services (level-2 and higher). Hierarchical generalized linear modeling, also known as multilevel modeling, was used to adjust for individual-level confounders.In a multilevel model, increasing hospital volume of very low birth weight deliveries was associated with lower odds of very low birth weight mortality. Characteristics of a particular hospital's obstetrical and neonatal services (the presence of residency and fellowship training programs and the availability of perinatal and neonatal services) had no independent effect.Using multilevel modeling, hospital volume of very low birth weight deliveries appears to be the primary driver of reduced mortality among very low birth weight infants.
View details for DOI 10.1038/jp.2011.29
View details for Web of Science ID 000297646000006
View details for PubMedID 21494232
To determine whether atrial fibrillation (AF) patients with mental health conditions (MHCs) were less likely than AF patients without MHCs to be prescribed warfarin and, if receiving warfarin, to maintain an International Normalized Ratio (INR) within the therapeutic range.Detailed chart review of AF patients using a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facility in 2003.For a random sample of 296 AF patients, records identified clinician-diagnosed MHCs (independent variable) and AF-related care in 2003 (dependent variables), receipt of warfarin, INR values below/above key thresholds, and time spent within the therapeutic range (2.0-3.0) or highly out of range. Differences between the MHC and comparison groups were examined using X2 tests and logistic regression controlling for age and comorbidity.Among warfarin-eligible AF patients (n = 246), 48.5% of those with MHCs versus 28.9% of those without MHCs were not treated with warfarin (P = .004). Among those receiving warfarin and monitored in VHA, highly supratherapeutic INRs were more common in the MHC group; for example, 27.3% versus 1.6% had any INR >5.0 (P <.001). Differences persisted after adjusting for age and comorbidity.MHC patients with AF were less likely than those without MHC to have adequate management of their AF care. Interventions directed at AF patients with MHC may help to optimize their outcomes.
View details for Web of Science ID 000295129700008
View details for PubMedID 21902447
The number of women veterans using Veterans Health Administration (VHA) services has increased rapidly, but the characteristics of women joining VHA are not well understood. We sought to describe sociodemographic characteristics, utilization, and retention of new and returning women VHA patients over a 7-year period.We identified women veterans who used VHA outpatient services from VHA Enrollment and Utilization files for fiscal years 2003 through 2009. "New" patients in a given year had no outpatient use within the prior 3 years. Patients were "retained" if they continued to use VHA in subsequent years.Of the 287,447 women veteran VHA outpatients in 2009, 40,000 (14%) were new to VHA in that year and over half had joined VHA since 2003. Nearly two thirds of these new patients were younger than 45, and 43% carried a service-connected disability status. Most new patients (88%) received primary care services in 2008, and 40% used mental health services. Repeated use of mental health services (at least three visits per year) nearly doubled among new patients (from 11% in 2003 to 20% in 2008). Among those using VHA primary care in 2006, 68% of new patients versus 91% of returning patients were retained in either of the subsequent 2 years.The influx of new women veterans seeking VHA services in recent years, combined with their high rate of retention within VHA, contribute to the marked increase in numbers of women veterans using VHA. Many require fairly intensive VHA services.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.whi.2011.04.025
View details for Web of Science ID 000292785100008
View details for PubMedID 21724129
Warfarin anticoagulation reduces thromboembolic complications in patients with atrial fibrillation or mechanical heart valves, but effective management is complex, and the international normalized ratio (INR) is often outside the target range. As compared with venous plasma testing, point-of-care INR measuring devices allow greater testing frequency and patient involvement and may improve clinical outcomes.We randomly assigned 2922 patients who were taking warfarin because of mechanical heart valves or atrial fibrillation and who were competent in the use of point-of-care INR devices to either weekly self-testing at home or monthly high-quality testing in a clinic. The primary end point was the time to a first major event (stroke, major bleeding episode, or death).The patients were followed for 2.0 to 4.75 years, for a total of 8730 patient-years of follow-up. The time to the first primary event was not significantly longer in the self-testing group than in the clinic-testing group (hazard ratio, 0.88; 95% confidence interval, 0.75 to 1.04; P=0.14). The two groups had similar rates of clinical outcomes except that the self-testing group reported more minor bleeding episodes. Over the entire follow-up period, the self-testing group had a small but significant improvement in the percentage of time during which the INR was within the target range (absolute difference between groups, 3.8 percentage points; P<0.001). At 2 years of follow-up, the self-testing group also had a small but significant improvement in patient satisfaction with anticoagulation therapy (P=0.002) and quality of life (P<0.001).As compared with monthly high-quality clinic testing, weekly self-testing did not delay the time to a first stroke, major bleeding episode, or death to the extent suggested by prior studies. These results do not support the superiority of self-testing over clinic testing in reducing the risk of stroke, major bleeding episode, and death among patients taking warfarin therapy. (Funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs Cooperative Studies Program; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00032591.).
View details for Web of Science ID 000283242700005
View details for PubMedID 20961244
Prior studies suggest patient self-testing (PST) of prothrombin time (PT) can improve the quality of anticoagulation (AC) and reduce complications (e.g., bleeding and thromboembolic events). "The Home INR Study" (THINRS) compared AC management with frequent PST using a home monitoring device to high-quality AC management (HQACM) with clinic-based monitoring on major health outcomes. A key clinical and policy question is whether and which patients can successfully use such devices. We report the results of Part 1 of THINRS in which patients and caregivers were evaluated for their ability to perform PST. Study-eligible patients (n = 3643) were trained to use the home monitoring device and evaluated after 2-4 weeks for PST competency. Information about demographics, medical history, warfarin use, medications, plus measures of numeracy, literacy, cognition, dexterity, and satisfaction with AC were collected. Approximately 80% (2931 of 3643) of patients trained on PST demonstrated competency; of these, 8% (238) required caregiver assistance. Testers who were not competent to perform PST had higher numbers of practice attempts, higher cuvette wastage, and were less able to perform a fingerstick or obtain blood for the cuvette in a timely fashion. Factors associated with failure to pass PST training included increased age, previous stroke history, poor cognition, and poor manual dexterity. A majority of patients were able to perform PST. Successful home monitoring of PT with a PST device required adequate levels of cognition and manual dexterity. Training a caregiver modestly increased the proportion of patients who can perform PST.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s11239-010-0499-8
View details for Web of Science ID 000282215300002
View details for PubMedID 20628787
To determine the adjusted effect of hospital level of care and volume on mortality of very low birth weight (VLBW) infants in the state of California, where deregionalization of perinatal care has occurred.Secondary data analysis of California maternal-infant hospital discharge data from 1997 to 2002 was performed. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the odds of mortality among VLBW infants by hospital level of neonatal intensive care and volume of VLBW deliveries, in the context of differences in antenatal and delivery factors by hospital site of delivery.Both maternal and fetal antenatal risk profiles and delivery characteristics vary by hospital site of delivery. After risk adjustment, lower-level, lower-volume units were associated with a higher odds of mortality. The highest odds of mortality occurred in level-1 units with < or =10 VLBW deliveries per year (odds ratio, 1.69; 95% confidence interval, 1.43-1.99). In isolation, hospital volume, rather than level of care, had the greater effect.Although deregionalization of perinatal services may increase access to care for high-risk mothers and newborns, its impact on hospital volume may outweigh its potential benefit.
View details for DOI 10.1097/MLR.0b013e3181dbe887
View details for Web of Science ID 000279428200011
View details for PubMedID 20548252
View details for Web of Science ID 000279608000002
The National Prosthetics Patient Database (NPPD) is the national Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) dataset that records characteristics of individual prosthetic and assistive devices. It remains unknown how well NPPD records can be matched to encounter records for the same individuals in major VA utilization databases. We compared the count of prosthetics records in the NPPD with the count of prosthetics-related procedures for the same individuals recorded in major VA utilization databases. We then attempted to match the NPPD records to the utilization records by person and date. In general, 40% to 60% of the NPPD records could be matched to outpatient utilization records within a 14-day window around the NPPD dataset entry date. Match rates for inpatient data were lower: 10% to 16% within a 14-day window. The NPPD will be particularly important for studies of certain veteran groups, such as those with spinal cord injury or blast-related polytraumatic injury. Health services researchers should use both the NPPD and utilization databases to develop a full understanding of prosthetics use by individual patients.
View details for DOI 10.1682/JRRD.2009.07.0098
View details for Web of Science ID 000285074300008
View details for PubMedID 21110248
This article examines the outcome data for very low birth weight infants in low-volume, mid-volume, and high-volume neonatal ICUs (NICUs) and argues for regionalization of NICU services on the basis of both medical outcomes and economic rationality. It recognizes some of the obstacles to regionalization of these services and presents ways to surmount them.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pcl.2009.04.006
View details for Web of Science ID 000267523700011
View details for PubMedID 19501695
In an effort to assess and reduce gender-related quality gaps, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has promoted gender-based research. Historically, such appraisals have often relied on secondary databases, with little attention to methodological implications of the fact that VHA provides care to some nonveteran patients.To determine whether conclusions about gender differences in utilization and cost of VHA care change after accounting for veteran status.Cross-sectional.All users of VHA in 2002 (N = 4,429,414).Veteran status, outpatient/inpatient utilization and cost, from centralized 2002 administrative files.Nonveterans accounted for 50.7% of women (the majority employees) but only 3.0% of men. Among all users, outpatient and inpatient utilization and cost were far lower in women than in men, but in the veteran subgroup these differences decreased substantially or, in the case of use and cost of outpatient care, reversed. Utilization and cost were very low among women employees; women spouses of fully disabled veterans had utilization and costs similar to those of women veterans.By gender, nonveterans represent a higher proportion of women than of men in VHA, and some large nonveteran groups have low utilization and costs; therefore, conclusions about gender disparities change substantially when veteran status is taken into account. Researchers seeking to characterize gender disparities in VHA care should address this methodological issue, to minimize risk of underestimating health care needs of women veterans and other women eligible for primary care services.
View details for Web of Science ID 000255452100014
View details for PubMedID 18438204
We sought to describe population-based trends, potential risk factors, and hospital costs of readmission for jaundice for term and late preterm infants.Birth-cohort data were obtained from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development and contained infant vital statistics data linked to infant and maternal hospital discharge summaries. The study population was limited to healthy, routinely discharged infants through the use of multiple exclusion criteria. All linked readmissions occurred within 14 days of birth. International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, codes were used to further limit the sample to readmission for jaundice. Hospital discharge records were the source of diagnoses, hospital charges, and length-of-stay information. Hospital costs were estimated using hospital-specific ratios of costs to charges and adjusted to 1991.Readmission rates for jaundice generally rose after 1994 and peaked in 1998 at 11.34 per 1000. The readmission rate for late preterm infants (as a share of all infants) over the study period remained at <2 per 1000. Factors associated with increased likelihood of hospital readmission for jaundice included gestational age 34 to 39 weeks, birth weight of <2500 g, male gender, Medicaid or private insurance, and Asian race. Factors associated with a decreased likelihood of readmission for jaundice were cesarean section delivery and black race. The mean cost of readmission for all infants was $2764, with a median cost of $1594.Risk-adjusted readmission rates for jaundice rose following the 1994 hyperbilirubinemia guidelines and declined after postpartum length-of-stay legislation in 1998. In 2000, the readmission rate remained 6% higher than in 1991. These findings highlight the complex relationship among newborn physiology, socioeconomics, race or ethnicity, public policy, clinical guidelines, and physician practice. These trend data provide the necessary baseline to study whether revised guidelines will change practice patterns or improve outcomes. Cost data also provide a break-even point for prevention strategies.
View details for DOI 10.1542/peds.2007-1214
View details for Web of Science ID 000254576800064
View details for PubMedID 18381515
Historically, men have been the predominant users of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) care. With more women entering the system, a systematic assessment of their healthcare use and costs of care is needed. We examined how utilization and costs of VHA care differ in women veterans compared with men veterans.In this cross-sectional study using centralized VHA administrative databases, main analyses examined annual outpatient and inpatient utilization and costs of care (outpatient, inpatient, and pharmacy) for all female (n = 178,849) and male (n = 3,943,532) veterans using VHA in 2002, accounting for age and medical/mental health conditions.Women had 11.8% more outpatient encounters, 25.9% fewer inpatient days, and 11.4% lower total cost than men; after adjusting for age and medical comorbidity, differences were less pronounced (1.3%, 10.9%, and 2.8%, respectively). Among the 30.8% of women and 24.4% of men with both medical and mental health conditions, women used outpatient services more heavily than men (31.0 vs. 27.3 annual encounters).VHA's efforts to build capacity for women veterans must account for their relatively high utilization of outpatient services, which is especially prominent in women who have both medical and mental health conditions. Meeting their needs may require delivery systems integrating medical and mental healthcare.
View details for DOI 10.1089/jwh.2006.0205
View details for Web of Science ID 000250506100063
View details for PubMedID 17937572
There has been a large increase in both the number of neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in community hospitals and the complexity of the cases treated in these units. We examined differences in neonatal mortality among infants with very low birth weight (below 1500 g) among NICUs with various levels of care and different volumes of very-low-birth-weight infants.We linked birth certificates, hospital discharge abstracts (including interhospital transfers), and fetal and infant death certificates to assess neonatal mortality rates among 48,237 very-low-birth-weight infants who were born in California hospitals between 1991 and 2000.Mortality rates among very-low-birth-weight infants varied according to both the volume of patients and the level of care at the delivery hospital. The effect of volume also varied according to the level of care. As compared with a high level of care and a high volume of very-low-birth-weight infants (more than 100 per year), lower levels of care and lower volumes (except for those of two small groups of hospitals) were associated with significantly higher odds ratios for death, ranging from 1.19 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04 to 1.37) to 2.72 (95% CI, 2.37 to 3.12). Less than one quarter of very-low-birth-weight deliveries occurred in facilities with NICUs that offered a high level of care and had a high volume, but 92% of very-low-birth-weight deliveries occurred in urban areas with more than 100 such deliveries.Mortality among very-low-birth-weight infants was lowest for deliveries that occurred in hospitals with NICUs that had both a high level of care and a high volume of such patients. Our results suggest that increased use of such facilities might reduce mortality among very-low-birth-weight infants.
View details for Web of Science ID 000246673100006
View details for PubMedID 17522400
To obtain information about health outcomes in neonates in 9 subgroups of the Asian population in the United States.Cross-sectional comparison of outcomes for births to mothers of Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Thai, and Vietnamese origin and for births to non-Hispanic white mothers. Regression models were used to compare neonatal mortality across groups before and after controlling for various risk factors.All California births between January 1,1991, and December 31, 2001.More than 2.3 million newborn infants.Racial and ethnic groups.Neonatal mortality (death within 28 days of birth).The unadjusted mortality rate for births to non-Hispanic white mothers was 2.0 per 1000. The unadjusted mortality rate for births to Chinese and Japanese mothers was significantly lower (Chinese: 1.2 per 1000, P<.001; Japanese: 1.2 per 1000, P=.004), and for births to Korean mothers the rate was significantly higher (2.7 per 1000, P=.003). For infants of Chinese mothers, observed risk factors explain the differences observed in unadjusted data. For infants of Cambodian, Japanese, Korean, and Thai mothers, differences persist or widen after risk factors are considered. After risk adjustment, infants of Cambodian, Japanese, and Korean mothers have significantly lower neonatal mortality rates compared with infants born to non-Hispanic white mothers (adjusted odds ratios, 0.58 for infants of Cambodian mothers, 0.67 for infants of Japanese mothers, and 0.69 for infants of Korean mothers; all P<.05); infants of Thai mothers have higher neonatal mortality rates (adjusted odds ratio, 1.89; P<.05).There are significant variations in neonatal mortality between subgroups of the Asian American population that are not entirely explained by differences in observable risk factors. Efforts to improve clinical care that treat Asian Americans as a homogeneous group may miss important opportunities for improving infant health in specific subgroups.
View details for Web of Science ID 000243273800010
View details for PubMedID 17199070
Despite evidence and recommendations encouraging the delivery of high-risk newborns in hospitals with subspecialty or high-level NICUs, increasing numbers are being delivered in other facilities. Causes for this are unknown. We sought to explore the impact of diffusion of specialty or midlevel NICUs on the types of hospitals in which low birth weight newborns are born.We used birth certificate, death certificate, and hospital discharge data for essentially all low birth weight, singleton California newborns born between 1993 and 2000. We identified areas likely to have been affected by the opening of a new nearby midlevel unit, analyzed changes over time in the share of births that took place in midlevel NICU hospitals, and compared patterns in areas that were and were not likely affected by the opening of a new midlevel unit. We also tracked the corresponding changes in the share of births in high-level hospitals and in those without NICU facilities (low-level).The probability of a 500- to 1499-g infant being born in a midlevel unit increased by 17 percentage points after the opening of a new nearby unit. More than three quarters of this increase was accounted for by reductions in the probability of birth in a hospital with a high-level unit (-15 points), and the other portion was resulting from reductions in the share of newborns delivered in hospitals with low-level centers (-2 points). Similar patterns were observed in 1500- to 2499-g newborns.The introduction of new midlevel units was associated with significant shifts of births from both high-level and low-level hospitals to midlevel hospitals. In areas in which new midlevel units opened, the majority of the increase in midlevel deliveries was attributable to shifts from high-level unit births. Continued proliferation of midlevel units should be carefully assessed.
View details for DOI 10.1542/peds.2006-0612
View details for Web of Science ID 000242478900060
View details for PubMedID 17116699
To estimate the potential savings, both in terms of costs and lengths of stay, of one-week increases in gestational age for premature infants. The purpose is to provide population-based data that can be used to assess the potential savings of interventions that delay premature delivery.Cohort data for all births in California in 1998-2000 that linked vital records data with those from hospital discharge abstracts, including those of neonatal transport. All infants with a gestational age between 24 and 37 weeks were included. There were 193,167 infants in the sample after deleting cases with incomplete data or gestational age that was inconsistent with birth weight.Hospital costs were estimated by adjusting charges by hospital-specific costs-to-charges ratios. Data were aggregated across transport into episodes of care. Mean and median potential savings were calculated for increasing gestational age, in one-week intervals. The 25th and 75th percentiles were used to estimate ranges.The results are presented in matrix format, for starting gestational ages of 24-34 weeks, with ending gestational ages of 25 to 37 weeks. Costs and lengths of stay decreased with gestational age from a median of $216,814 (92 days) at 24 weeks to $591 (2 days) at 37 weeks. The potential savings from delaying premature labor are quite large; the median savings for a 2 week increase in gestational age were between $28,870 and $64,021 for gestational ages below 33 weeks, with larger savings for longer delays in delivery. Delaying deliveries <29 weeks to term (37 weeks) resulted in savings of over $122,000 per case, with the savings being over $206,000 for deliveries <26 weeks.These results provide population-based data that can be applied to clinical trials data to assess the impacts on costs and lengths of stay of interventions that delay premature labor. They show that the potential savings of delaying premature labor are quite large, especially for extremely premature deliveries.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2006.01.001
View details for Web of Science ID 000236171200003
View details for PubMedID 16459031
The Geriatric Evaluation and Management study was developed to assess the impact of a comprehensive geriatric assessment service on the care of the elderly.We sought to evaluate the cost and clinical impact of inpatient units and outpatient clinics for geriatric evaluation and management.We undertook a prospective, randomized, controlled trial using a 2x2 factorial design, with 1-year follow-up.A total of 1388 participants hospitalized on either a medical or surgical ward at 11 participating Veterans Affairs medical centers were randomized to receive either inpatient geriatric unit (GEMU) or usual inpatient care (UCIP), followed by either outpatient care from a geriatric clinic (GEMC) versus usual outpatient care (UCOP).We measured health care utilization and costs.Patients assigned to the GEMU had a significantly decreased rate of nursing home placement (odds ratio=0.65; P=0.001). Neither the GEMU nor GEMC had any statistically significant improvement effects on survival and only modest effects on health status. There were statistically insignificant mean cost savings of $1027 (P=0.29) per patient for the GEMU and $1665 (P=0.69) per patient for the GEMC.Inpatient or outpatient geriatric evaluation and management units didn't increase the costs of care. Although there was no effect on survival and only modest effects on SF-36 scores at 1-year follow-up, there was a statistically significant reduction in nursing home admissions for patients treated in the GEMU.
View details for Web of Science ID 000234342600013
View details for PubMedID 16365618
We sought to describe the current costs of newborn care by using population-based data, which includes linked vital statistics and hospital records for both mothers and infants. These data allow costs to be reported by episode of care (birth), instead of by hospitalization.Data for this study were obtained from the linked 2000 California birth cohort data. These data (n = 518,704), provided by the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), contain infant vital statistics data (birth and death certificate data) linked to infant and maternal hospital discharge summaries. In addition to the infant and maternal hospital discharge summaries associated with delivery, these data include discharge summaries for all infant hospital-to-hospital transfers and maternal prenatal hospitalizations. The linkage algorithm that is used by OSHPD in creating the linked cohort data file is highly accurate. More than 99% of the maternal and infant discharge abstracts were linked successfully with the birth certificates. These data were also linked successfully with the infant discharge abstracts from the receiving hospital for 99% of the infants who were transferred to another hospital. The hospital discharge records were the source of the hospital charges and length-of-stay information summarized in this study. Hospital costs were estimated by adjusting charges by hospital-specific ratios of costs to charges obtained from the OSHPD Hospital Financial Reporting data. Costs, lengths of stay, and mortality were summarized by birth weight groups, gestational age, cost categories, and types of admissions.Low birth weight (LBW) and very low birth weight (VLBW) infants had significantly longer hospital stays and accounted for a significantly higher proportion of total hospital costs. The average hospital stay for LBW infants ranged from 6.2 to 68.1 days, whereas the average hospital stay for infants who weighed >2500 g at birth was 2.3 days. Overall, VLBW infants accounted for 0.9% of cases but 35.7% of costs, whereas LBW infants accounted for 5.9% of cases but 56.6% of total hospital costs. Although total maternal and infant costs were similar (approximately 1.6 billion dollars), the distribution of maternal costs was much less skewed. For infants, 5% of infants accounted for 76% of total infant hospital costs. Conversely, the most expensive 3% of deliveries accounted for only 17% of total maternal costs.The very smallest infants make up a hugely disproportionate share of costs; more than half of all neonatal costs are incurred by LBW or premature infants. Maternal costs are similar in magnitude to newborn costs, but they are much less skewed than for infants. Preventing premature deliveries could yield very large cost savings, in addition to saving lives.
View details for DOI 10.1542/peds.2005-0484
View details for Web of Science ID 000234406100021
View details for PubMedID 16396873
Anticoagulation (AC) with warfarin reduces the risk of thromboembolism (TE) in a variety of applications, yet despite compelling evidence of the value and importance of high quality AC, warfarin remains underused, and dosing is often suboptimal. Approaches to improve AC quality include (1) an AC service (ACS), which allows the physician to delegate day-to-day details of AC management to another provider dedicated to AC care, and (2) incorporating into the treatment plan patient self-testing (PST) under which, after completing a training program, patients perform their own blood testing (typically, using a finger-stick blood analyzer), have dosage adjustments guided by a standard protocol, and forward test results, dosing and other information to the provider. Studies have suggested that PST can improve the quality of AC and perhaps lower TE and bleed rates. The purpose of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Cooperative Studies Program (CSP) #481, "The Home INR Study" (THINRS) is to compare AC management with frequent PST using a home monitoring device to high quality AC management (HQACM) implemented by an ACS with conventional monitoring of prothrombin time by international normalized ratio (INR) on major health outcomes. PST in THINRS involves use of an INR monitoring device that is FDA approved for home use.Sites are VA Medical Centers where the ACS has an active roster of more than 400 patients. THINRS includes patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and/or mechanical heart valve (MHV) expected to be anticoagulated indefinitely. THINRS has two parts. In Part 1, candidates for PST are evaluated for 2 to 4 weeks for their ability to use home monitoring devices. In Part 2, individuals capable of performing PST are randomized to (1) HQACM with testing every 4 weeks and as indicated for out of range values, medication/clinical changes, or (2) PST with testing every week and as indicated for out of range values, medication/clinical changes. The primary outcome measure is event rates, defined as the percent of patients who have a stroke, major bleed, or die. Secondary outcomes include total time in range (TTR), other events (myocardial infarction (MI), non-stroke TE, minor bleeds), competence and compliance with PST, satisfaction with AC, AC associated quality of life (QOL), and cost-effectiveness. To assess the effect of PST frequency on TTR and other outcomes, at selected sites patients randomized to perform PST are assigned one of three test frequencies (weekly, twice weekly, or once every four weeks).
View details for DOI 10.1007/s11239-005-1452-0
View details for Web of Science ID 000231020500003
View details for PubMedID 16082603
Kernicterus, thought to be due to severe hyperbilirubinemia, is an uncommon disorder with tragic consequences, especially when it affects healthy term and near-term infants. Early identification, prevention and treatment of severe hyperbilirubinemia should make kernicterus a preventable disease. However, national epidemiologic data are needed to monitor any preventive strategies. Recommendations are provided to obtain prospective data on the prevalence and incidence of severe hyperbilirubinemia and associate mortality and neurologic injury using standardized definitions, explore the clinical characteristics and root causes of kernicterus in children identified in the Kernicterus Pilot Registry, identify and test an indicator for population surveillance, validating systems-based approaches to the management of newborn jaundice, and explore the feasibility of using biologic or genetic markers to identify infants at risk for hyperbilirubinemia. Increased knowledge about the incidence and consequences of severe hyperbilirubinemia is essential to the planning, implementation and assessment of interventions to ensure that infants discharged as healthy from their birth hospitals have a safer transition to home, avoiding morbidity due to hyperbilirubinemia and other disorders. At a recent NIHCD-sponsored conference, key questions were raised about kernicterus and the need for additional strategies for its prevention. These questions and an approach to their answers form the basis of this report.
View details for PubMedID 15254556
This study examined factors affecting medical service use among HIV-infected persons with a substance abuse disorder. The sample comprised 190 participants enrolled in a randomized trial of a case management intervention. Participants were interviewed about their backgrounds, housing status, income, alcohol and drug use problems, health status and depressive symptoms at study entry. Electronic medical records were used to assess medical service use. Poisson regression models were tested to determine the effects of need, enabling and predisposing factors on the dependent variables of emergency department visits, inpatient admissions and ambulatory care visits. During a two-year period, 71% were treated in the emergency department, 64% had been hospitalized and the sample averaged 12.9 ambulatory care visits. Homelessness was associated with higher utilization of emergency department and inpatient services; drug use severity was associated with higher inpatient and ambulatory care service use; and alcohol use severity was associated with greater use of emergency medical services. Homelessness and substance abuse exacerbate the health care needs of HIV-infected persons and result in increased use of emergency department and inpatient services. Interventions are needed that target HIV-infected persons with substance abuse disorders, particularly those that increase entry and retention in outpatient health care and thus decrease reliance on acute hospital-based services.
View details for DOI 10.1080/09540120412331269585
View details for Web of Science ID 000223102900008
View details for PubMedID 15370062
Variability in demand for hospital services may have important effects on hospital costs, but this has been difficult to examine because data on within-year variations in hospital use have not been available for large samples of hospitals. We measure daily occupancy in California hospitals and examine variation in hospital utilization at the daily level. We find substantial day-to-day variation in hospital utilization, and noticeable differences between hospitals in the amount of day-to-day variation in utilization. We examine the impact of variation on hospital costs, showing that increases in variance are associated with increases in hospital expenditures, but that the effects are qualitatively modest.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2003.09.005
View details for Web of Science ID 000189210600009
View details for PubMedID 15154694
Chronic conditions are among the most common causes of death and disability in the United States. Patients with such conditions receive disproportionate amounts of health care services and therefore cost more per capita than the average patient. This study assesses the prevalence among the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care users and VA expenditures (costs) of 29 common chronic conditions. The authors used regression to identify the marginal impact of these conditions on total, inpatient, outpatient, and pharmacy costs. Excluding costs of contracted medical services at non-VA facilities, total VA health care expenditures in fiscal year 1999 (FY1999) were $14.3 billion. Among the 3.4 million VA patients in FY1999, 72 percent had 1 or more of the 29 chronic conditions, and these patients accounted for 96 percent of the total costs ($13.7 billion). In addition, 35 percent (1.2 million) of VA health care users had 3 or more of the 29 chronic conditions. These individuals accounted for 73 percent of the total cost. Overall, VA health care users have more chronic diseases than the general population.
View details for DOI 10.1177/1077558703257000
View details for Web of Science ID 000184825000011
View details for PubMedID 15095551
This article reports how we matched Common Procedure Terminology (CPT) codes with Medicare payment rates and aggregate Veterans Affairs (VA) budget data to estimate the costs of every VA ambulatory encounter. Converting CPT codes to encounter-level costs was more complex than a simple match of Medicare reimbursements to CPT codes. About 40 percent of the CPT codes used in VA, representing about 20 percent of procedures, did not have a Medicare payment rate and required other cost estimates. Reconciling aggregated estimated costs to the VA budget allocations for outpatient care produced final VA cost estimates that were lower than projected Medicare reimbursements. The methods used to estimate costs for encounters could be replicated for other settings. They are potentially useful for any system that does not generate billing data, when CPT codes are simpler to collect than billing data, or when there is a need to standardize cost estimates across data sources.
View details for DOI 10.1177/1077558703256725
View details for Web of Science ID 000184825000006
View details for PubMedID 15095546
This study examined whether substance abuse patients who live farther from their source of outpatient mental health care were less likely to obtain aftercare following an inpatient treatment episode. For those patients who did receive aftercare, distance was evaluated as a predictor of the volume of care received. A national sample of 33,952 veterans discharged from Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) inpatient substance abuse treatment programs was analyzed using a two-part choice model utilizing logistic and linear regression. Patients living farther from their source of outpatient mental health care were less likely to obtain aftercare following inpatient substance abuse treatment. Patients who traveled 10 miles or less were 2.6 times more likely to obtain aftercare than those who traveled more than 50 miles. Only 40% of patients who lived more than 25 miles from the nearest aftercare facility obtained any aftercare services. Patients who received aftercare services had fewer visits if they lived farther from their source of aftercare. Lack of geographic access (distance) is a barrier to outpatient mental health care following inpatient substance abuse treatment, and influences the volume of care received once the decision to obtain aftercare is made. Aftercare services must be geographically accessible to ensure satisfactory utilization.
View details for DOI 10.1016/S0306-4603(02)00218-6
View details for Web of Science ID 000184353900014
View details for PubMedID 12834661
In a random assignment study, substance-abusing patients with HIV/AIDS in a public general hospital received a brief contact condition or received 12 months of case management delivered by paraprofessionals. Patient outcomes included substance use, HIV transmission risk, physical health, psychological status, and quality of living situation. In both conditions, a significant decrease occurred in a range of problems from Intake to the 6-month interview, followed by no significant pattern of change at 12- and 18-month interviews. On major outcome variables, there were no significant differences between the brief contact and case management conditions. Sixteen percent had died by the 18-month interview. Process data indicated wide variation in the amount of case management received by participants, and the amount of case management was not related to improvement in the outcome measures. The study has limitations yet does not support the hypothesis that case management improves outcomes better than brief contact for this population.
View details for DOI 10.1081/ADA-120018843
View details for Web of Science ID 000182445900007
View details for PubMedID 12731685
Managed care may influence technology diffusion in health care. This article empirically examines the relationship between HMO market share and the diffusion of neonatal intensive care units. Higher HMO market share is associated with slower adoption of mid-level units, but not with adoption of the most advanced high-level units. Opposite the common supposition that slowing technology growth will harm patients, results suggest that health outcomes for seriously ill newborns are better in higher-level units and that reduced availability of mid-level units may increase their chance of receiving care in a high-level center, so that slower mid-level growth could have benefitted patients.
View details for Web of Science ID 000179256800010
View details for PubMedID 12585306
In 1976, the Committee on Perinatal Health recommended that hospitals with no neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or intermediate NICUs transfer high-risk mothers and infants that weigh <2000 g to a regional NICU. This standard was based on expert opinion and has not been validated carefully. This study evaluated the effect of NICU level and patient volume at the hospital of birth on neonatal mortality of infants with a birth weight (BW) of <2000 g.Birth certificates of 16 732 singleton infants who had a BW of <2000 g and were born in nonfederal hospitals in California in 1992 and 1993 were linked to death certificates and to discharge abstracts. The hospitals were classified by the level of NICU: no NICU, no intensive care; intermediate NICU, intermediate intensive care; community NICU, expanded intermediate intensive care; and regional NICU, tertiary intensive care. A logistic regression model that controlled for demographic risks, diagnoses, transfer, average NICU census, and NICU level was estimated using death within the first 28 days or first year of life if continuously hospitalized as the main outcome measure.Compared with birth in a hospital with a regional NICU, risk-adjusted mortality of infants with BW of <2000 g was higher when birth occurred in hospitals with no NICU (odds ratio [OR]: 2.38; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.81-3.13), an intermediate NICU (OR: 1.92; 95% CI: 1.44-2.54), or a small (average census <15) community NICU (OR: 1.42; 95% CI: 1.14-1.76). Risk-adjusted mortality for infants who were born in hospitals with a large (average census > or =15) community NICU was not statistically different compared with those with a regional NICU (OR: 1.11; 95% CI: 0.87-1.43). Except for large community NICUs, all of these ORs are larger when the data are restricted to infants with BW of <1500 g or BW of <1250 g and smaller for BW between 1250 g and 1999 g and 1500 g and 1999 g. For large community NICUs, the results are similar for the smaller BW intervals and significant only for the larger BW interval.These results support the recommendation that hospitals with no NICU or intermediate NICUs transfer high-risk mothers with estimated fetal weight of <2000 g to a regional NICU. For infants with BW of <2000 g, birth at a hospital with a regional NICU is associated with a lower risk-adjusted mortality than birth at a hospital with no NICU, intermediate NICU of any size, or small community NICU. Subsequent neonatal transfer to a regional NICU only marginally decreases the disadvantage of birth at these hospitals. The evidence for the few hospitals with large community NICUs is mixed. Although the data point to higher mortality in large community NICUs, they are not conclusive and additional study is needed on the mortality effects of large community NICUs. Greater efforts should be made to deliver infants with expected BW of <2000 g at hospitals with regional NICUs.
View details for Web of Science ID 000175321200020
View details for PubMedID 11986431
Over the past 20 years, both inpatient units and outpatient clinics have developed programs for geriatric evaluation and management. However, the effects of these interventions on survival and functional status remain uncertain.We conducted a randomized trial involving frail patients 65 years of age or older who were hospitalized at 11 Veterans Affairs medical centers. After their condition had been stabilized, patients were randomly assigned, according to a two-by-two factorial design, to receive either care in an inpatient geriatric unit or usual inpatient care, followed by either care at an outpatient geriatric clinic or usual outpatient care. The interventions involved teams that provided geriatric assessment and management according to Veterans Affairs standards and published guidelines. The primary outcomes were survival and health-related quality of life, measured with the use of the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form General Health Survey (SF-36), one year after randomization. Secondary outcomes were the ability to perform activities of daily living, physical performance, utilization of health services, and costs.A total of 1388 patients were enrolled and followed. Neither the inpatient nor the outpatient intervention had a significant effect on mortality (21 percent at one year overall), nor were there any synergistic effects between the two interventions. At discharge, patients assigned to the inpatient geriatric units had significantly greater improvements in the scores for four of the eight SF-36 subscales, activities of daily living, and physical performance than did those assigned to usual inpatient care. At one year, patients assigned to the outpatient geriatric clinics had better scores on the SF-36 mental health subscale, even after adjustment for the score at discharge, than those assigned to usual outpatient care. Total costs at one year were similar for the intervention and usual-care groups.In this controlled trial, care provided in inpatient geriatric units and outpatient geriatric clinics had no significant effects on survival. There were significant reductions in functional decline with inpatient geriatric evaluation and management and improvements in mental health with outpatient geriatric evaluation and management, with no increase in costs.
View details for Web of Science ID 000174464100007
View details for PubMedID 11907291
This study examines whether the passage of California's Proposition 187, a proposition designed to restrict undocumented immigrants from using public services, had a negative effect on the use of prenatal care and birth outcomes. Comparisons of prenatal care use and birth outcomes before and after the passage of the proposition are made between low-education foreign-born and U.S.-born mothers using California's Birth Public Use files. Multivariate linear and logistic regressions were used to control for regional and maternal characteristics. We find a significant but small decline in the use of prenatal care by low-education foreign-born women after Proposition 187 passed; however, there was no detectable deterioration of birth outcomes. Whether future reductions in the availability of prenatal care would damage the health of children is unclear.
View details for PubMedID 16228741
Lengthy travel distances may explain why relatively few veterans in the United States use VA hospitals for inpatient medical/surgical care. We used two approaches to distinguish the effect of distance on VA use from other factors such as access to alternatives and veterans' characteristics. The first approach describes how disparities in travel distance to the VA are related to other characteristics of geographic areas. The second approach involved a multivariate analysis of VA use in postal zip code areas (ZCAs). We used several sources of data to estimate the number of veterans who had priority access to the VA so that use rates could be estimated. Access to hospitals was characterized by estimated travel distance to inpatient providers that typically serve each ZCA. The results demonstrate that travel distance to the VA is variable, with veterans in rural areas traveling much farther for VA care than veterans in areas of high population density. However, Medicare recipients also travel farther in areas of low population density. In some areas veterans must travel lengthy distances for VA care because VA hospitals which were built over the past few decades are not located close to areas in which veterans reside in the 1990s. The disparities in travel distance suggest inequitable access to the VA. Use of the VA decreases with increases in travel distance only up to about 15 miles, after which use is relatively insensitive to further increases in distance. The multivariate analyses indicate that those over 65 are less sensitive to distance than younger veterans, even though those over 65 are Medicare eligible and therefore have inexpensive access to alternatives. The results suggest that proximity to a VA hospital is only one of many factors determining VA use. Further research is indicated to develop an appropriate response to the needs of the small but apparently dedicated group of VA users who are traveling very long distances to obtain VA care.
View details for Web of Science ID 000086375400004
View details for PubMedID 10798329
To estimate excess direct medical costs of low birth weight from maternal smoking and short-term cost savings from smoking cessation programs before or during the first trimester of pregnancy.Simulations using data on neonatal costs per live birth. Outcome measures are mean US excess direct medical cost per live birth, total excess direct medical cost, reductions in low birth weight, and savings in medical costs from an annual 1 percentage point drop in smoking prevalence among pregnant women.Mean average excess direct medical cost per live birth for each pregnant smoker (in 1995 dollars) was $511; total cost was $263 million. An annual drop of 1 percentage point in smoking prevalence would prevent 1300 low birth weight live births and save $21 million in direct medical costs in the first year of the program; it would prevent 57,200 low birth weight infants and save $572 million in direct medical costs in 7 years.Smoking cessation before the end of the first trimester produces significant cost savings from the prevention of low birth weight.
View details for Web of Science ID 000084069000011
View details for PubMedID 10585982
To determine whether physician gender and patient gender influence the process of communication and parent and child satisfaction during pediatric office visits.Content analysis of videotaped pediatric office visits.University-based pediatric primary care practice.Videotaped communication between 212 children, ages 4 to 14 years, parents, and physicians. Thirty-eight percent were child health supervision visits, and 62% were for the management of minor or chronic illnesses.An established coding system of physician-patient communication and measures of parent and child satisfaction with medical care.Female physician visits were 29% longer than those of male physicians (P < .001). Compared with male physicians, female physicians engaged in more social exchange (P < .01), more encouragement and reassurance (P < .01), more communication during the physical examination (P < .05), and more information gathering (P < .01) with children. Male and female physicians engaged in similar amounts of discussions regarding illness management. Children were more satisfied with physicians of the same gender (P < .05), while parents were more satisfied with female physicians (P < .05).Children communicate more with female than with male physicians and show preferences for physicians of the same gender. These findings are consistent with communication patterns in adult patients and may have a significant influence on gender disparities in health care. Efforts at improving the process and outcome of medical care should address gender differences.
View details for Web of Science ID A1997XE00800011
View details for PubMedID 9193244
To determine the hospital cost of caring for newborn infants with congenital syphilis.All live-born singleton neonates with birth weight greater than 500 gm at an inner-city municipal hospital in New York City in 1989.We compared the characteristics of 114 infants with case-compatible congenital syphilis with those of 2906 infants without syphilis. Cost estimates were based on New York State newborn diagnosis-related groups (DRG) reimbursements adjusted for length of stay, birth weight, preterm delivery, and selected maternal risk factors, including infection with the human immunodeficiency virus, cocaine use during pregnancy, and history of injected drug use.For infants with congenital syphilis, the unadjusted mean cost ($11,031) and the median cost ($4961) were more than three times larger than those for infants without syphilis (p < 0.01). After adjustment, congenital syphilis was associated with an additional length of hospitalization of 7 1/2 days and an additional cost of $4690 (both p < 0.01) above mean study population values (7.13 days, $3473).Based on the number of reported cases (1991 to 1994), the average annual national cost of treating infants with congenital syphilis is approximately $18.4 million (1995 dollars). This estimate provides a benchmark to assess the cost-effectiveness of strategies to prevent, diagnose, and treat the disease.
View details for Web of Science ID A1997WY38700016
View details for PubMedID 9152285
To develop a case mix model for inpatient substance abuse treatment to assess the effect of case mix on readmission across Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs).The computerized patient records from the 116 VAMCs with inpatient substance abuse treatment programs between 1987 and 1992.Logistic regression was used on patient data to model the effect of demographic, psychiatric, medical, and substance abuse factors on readmission to VAMCs for substance abuse treatment within six months of discharge. The model predictions were aggregated for each VAMC to produce an expected number of readmissions. The observed number of readmissions for each VAMC was divided by its expected number to create a measure of facility performance. Confidence intervals and rankings were used to examine how case mix adjustment changed relative performance among VAMCs.Ward where care was provided and ICD-9-CM diagnosis codes were used to identify patients receiving treatment for substance abuse (N = 313,886).The case mix model explains 36 percent of the observed facility level variation in readmission. Over half of the VAMCs had numbers of readmissions that were significantly different than expected. There were also noticeable differences between the rankings based on actual and case mix-adjusted readmissions.Secondary data can be used to build a reasonably stable case mix model for substance abuse treatment that will identify meaningful variation across facilities. Further, case mix has a large effect on facility level readmission rates for substance abuse treatment. Uncontrolled facility comparisons can be misleading. Case mix models are potentially useful for quality assurance efforts.
View details for Web of Science ID A1997WG83500009
View details for PubMedID 9018215
View details for Web of Science ID A1996VZ90400003
To examine the effects of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) patient volume and the level of NICU care available at the hospital of birth on neonatal mortality.Birth certificate data linked to infant death certificates and to infant discharge abstracts were used in a logistic regression model to control for differences in each patient's clinical and demographic risks. Hospitals were classified by the level of NICU care available (no NICU: level I; intermediate NICU: level II; expanded intermediate NICU: level II+: tertiary NICU: level III) and by the average patient census in the NICU.All nonfederal hospitals in California with maternity services.All births in nonfederal hospitals in California in 1990 (N=594104), 473209 (singletons only) of which were successfully linked with discharge abstracts. Of these infants, 53229 were classified as likely NICU admissions.Death within the first 28 days of life, or within the first year of life, if continuously hospitalized.Patient volume and level of NICU care at the hospital of birth both had significant effects on mortality. Compared with hospitals without an NICU, infants born in a hospital with a level III NICU with an average NICU census of at least 15 patients per day had significantly lower risk-adjusted neonatal mortality (odds ratio, 0.62; 95% confidence interval, 0.47-0.82; P=.002). Risk-adjusted neonatal mortality for infants born in smaller level III NICUs, and in level II+ and level II NICUs, regardless of size, was not significantly different from hospitals without an NICU, and was significantly higher than hospitals with large level III NICUS.Risk-adjusted neonatal mortality was significantly lower for births that occurred in hospitals with large (average census, >15 patients per day) level III NICUs. Despite the differences in outcomes, costs for the birth of infants born at hospitals with large level III NICUs were not more than those for infants born at other hospitals with NICUs. Concentration of high-risk deliveries in urban areas in a smaller number of hospitals that could provide level III NICU care has the potential to decrease neonatal mortality without increasing costs.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996VK03500026
View details for PubMedID 8847767
Studies of hospital demand and choice of hospital have used straight line distance from a patient's home to hospitals as a measure of geographic access, but there is the potential for bias if straight line distance does not accurately reflect travel time. Travel times for unimpeded travel between major intersections in upstate New York were compared with distances between these points. The correlation between distance and travel time was 0.987 for all observations and 0.826 for distances less than 15 miles. These very high correlations indicate that straight line distance is a reasonable proxy for travel time in most hospital demand or choice models, especially those with large numbers of hospitals. The authors' outlier analyses show some exceptions, however, so this relationship may not hold for studies focusing on specific hospitals, very small numbers of hospitals, or studies in dense urban areas with high congestion and reliance on surface streets.
View details for Web of Science ID A1995TK89800006
View details for PubMedID 10153313
This study examined the patient case mix and program determinants of 6-month readmission rates and early treatment dropout for 7,711 VA inpatients with both substance abuse and major psychiatric disorders treated in one of 104 substance abuse programs. Patients were treated in one of three types of inpatient programs: explicitly designed dual diagnosis specialty programs, substance abuse programs with a dual diagnosis psychotherapy group or standard substance abuse programs. Dual diagnosis specialty programs differed from regular substance abuse programs in that they had a more severe case mix, a higher 180-day readmission rate, greater dual diagnosis treatment orientation, used more psychotropic medication, had longer lengths of stay, had greater tolerance of relapse and medication noncompliance, and a higher rate of psychiatric aftercare in the 30 days after discharged. Programs with less severe case mix, longer intended and actual length of stay, lower 7-day dropout rates, greater tolerance of problem behavior, 12-step groups, and higher immediate postdischarge utilization of outpatient mental health treatment lower 180-day readmission rates. Programs with less severe patient case mix, more use of psychotropic medications but less of methadone and antabuse, less varied and diverse treatment activities, and low use of patient-led groups had lower dropout rates.
View details for PubMedID 7655313
This study examines program determinants of one aspect of VA inpatient substance abuse treatment program performance. Performance was measured by the ratio of a program's readmission rate to the expected rate for programs with similar patients. Six-month readmission rates in 101 VA treatment programs were analyzed. Preliminary analyses indicated that patient differences across programs accounted for 36% of the variance in readmission rates. Program differences accounted for 47% of the variance in case-mix-adjusted readmission rate. Among program factors selected through a literature review, better than expected readmission performance was associated with having fewer early discharges, a longer intended treatment duration, more patient participation in aftercare, more family or friend assessment interviews, and treating more patients on a compulsory basis. Performance was not related to stress management training, patient attendance at more self-help meetings during treatment, staff characteristics, or average staff costs per patient day. The findings indicate that treatment retention, duration, and increased aftercare may be targeted to reduce high readmission rates. Last, there were only small differences in the model over 30, 60, 90, and 365 day follow-up intervals, suggesting substantial stability of the findings.
View details for Web of Science ID A1994NQ01400001
View details for PubMedID 8189773
The authors performed a prenatal care needs assessment for Fresno County, CA, using data from a sample of 11,878 birth certificates for the county for 1989. Birth records, patterns of prenatal care utilization, and low birth weight outcomes in the county were compared with those in a random sample of 11,826 certificates derived from births in the remainder of the State. Bivariate techniques were used in calculating care utilization rates. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used in associating rates of prenatal care visits and gestational month of initiation of prenatal care with low weight birth outcomes. County women entered prenatal care as early as women in the remainder of the State, but did not return as often for prenatal care visits. Their rate of return for followup visits was 29.9 percent, compared with 24.8 percent for women in all other counties (P < 0.001). County women with the lowest rates of visits had 1.4 to 1.9 times the risk of having a low weight birth than other county women with higher rates of visits, and a significantly higher risk than for women of all other counties. An intensive visit schedule for high-risk care was provided 28.9 percent of county women, compared with 33.0 percent of women in all other counties (P < 0.001). County women who received a high-risk intensive visit schedule were 2.5 times more likely to have a low weight birth than county women who did not receive the schedule. For all other women in the State, the comparable risk was 2.1 times. Improvements in the number and content of prenatal care visits were shown to have a high likelihood of substantially improving birth weight outcomes for pregnancies among Fresno County women.
View details for Web of Science ID A1994MW86400010
View details for PubMedID 8303017
To examine the cost effects of a single dose (5 ml/kg) of a protein-free synthetic surfactant (Exosurf) as therapy for neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, for both rescue and prophylactic therapy.Nonblinded, randomized clinical trials of both rescue and prophylactic therapy. Regression analyses were used to control for the independent effects of sex, multiple birth, delivery method, birth weight, and surfactant therapy.The prophylactic trial was conducted at a university medical center only; the rescue trial also included a tertiary community hospital.Prophylaxis was administered immediately after birth to 36 infants (38 control subjects) with birth weights between 700 and 1350 gm. Rescue therapy was administered at 4 to 24 hours of age to 53 infants (51 control subjects) with established respiratory distress syndrome and birth weights > or = 650 gm (no upper limit). Infants in the prophylactic trial were not eligible for the rescue trial.For the rescue trial, there was a $16,600 reduction in average hospital costs (p = 0.18), which was larger than the cost of the surfactant ($450 to $900), yielding a probable net savings. For the prophylactic trial, hospital costs were larger for treated infants versus control subjects who weighed less than about 1100 gm at birth and lower for treated infants versus control subjects who weighed more than 1100 gm at birth (p < 0.05). For the prophylactic sample, the result was an average cost per life saved of $71,500.Single-dose rescue surfactant therapy is probably a cost-effective therapy because it produced a lower mortality rate for the same (and probably lower) expenditure. Single-dose prophylactic therapy for smaller infants (< or = 1350 gm) appeared to yield a reduction in mortality rate for a small additional cost. The use of multiple-dose therapy in infants who do not respond to initial therapy may alter the effects described above to either increase or decrease the observed cost-effectiveness of surfactant therapy. Regardless, surfactant therapy will remain a cost-effective method of reducing mortality rates, relative to other commonly used health care interventions.
View details for Web of Science ID A1993MK82700017
View details for PubMedID 8229530
To provide a radius measure of the structure of local hospital markets that varies with hospital characteristics and is available for all hospitals in the United States.1982 American Hospital Association (AHA) Survey of Hospitals, 1982 Area Resource File (ARF), and 1983 California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) discharge abstracts.The OSHPD data were used to measure the radii necessary to capture 75 percent and 90 percent of each hospital's admissions. These radii were used as the dependent variables in regression models in which the independent variables were from the AHA and ARF. To estimate predicted market radii, the estimated parameters from the California models were applied to all nonfederal, short-term, general hospitals in the continental United States. These radii were used to define each hospital's service area, and all other hospitals within the calculated radii were considered potential competitors. Using this definition, we calculated two measures of local market structure: the number of other hospitals within the radius and a Herfindahl-Hirschman Index based on the distribution of hospital bed shares in the market.These measures were calculated for all nonfederal, short-term, acute care hospitals in the continental United States for whom complete data were available (N = 4,884).These measures are available from the authors on computer-readable diskette, matched to hospital identifiers.
View details for Web of Science ID A1993LT02200003
View details for PubMedID 8344822
This article tests whether or not the factors that affect hospital choice differ for selected subgroups of the population.1985 California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) discharge abstracts and hospital financial data were used.Models for hospital choice were estimated using McFadden's conditional logit model. Separate models were estimated for high-risk and low-risk patients, and for high-risk and low-risk women covered either by private insurance or by California Medicaid. The model included independent variables to control for quality, price, ownership, and distance to the hospital.Data covered all maternal deliveries in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1985 (N = 61,436). ICD-9 codes were used to classify patients as high-risk or low-risk. The expected payment code on the discharge abstract was used to identify insurance status.The results strongly reject the hypothesis that high-risk and low-risk women have the same choice process. Hospital quality tended to be more important for high-risk than low-risk women. These results also reject the hypothesis that factors influencing choice of hospital are the same for women covered by private insurance as for those covered by Medicaid. Further, high-risk women covered by Medicaid were less likely than high-risk women covered by private insurance to deliver in hospitals with newborn intensive care units.The results show that the choice factors vary across several broadly defined subgroups of patients with a specific condition. Thus, estimates aggregating all patients may be misleading. Specifically, such estimates will understate actual patient response to quality of care indicators, since patient sensitivity to quality of care varies with the patients' risk status.
View details for Web of Science ID A1993LH64800004
View details for PubMedID 8514500
Low birth weight is a major determinant of neonatal mortality. Yet birth weight, even in conjunction with other demographic markers, is inadequate to explain the large variations in neonatal mortality between intensive care units. This variation probably reflects differences in admission severity. The authors have recently developed the Score for Neonatal Acute Physiology (SNAP), an illness severity index specific for neonatal intensive care, and demonstrated illness severity to be a major determinant of neonatal mortality.To define the relative contributions of birth weight and illness severity to the risk of neonatal mortality and to identify other significant independent risk factors.Logistic regression was used to analyze data from a cohort of 1621 consecutive admissions to three neonatal intensive care units (92 deaths), to test six alternative predictive models. The best logistic model was then used to develop a simple additive clinical score, the SNAP Perinatal Extension (SNAP-PE).These analyses demonstrated that birth weight and illness severity are powerful independent predictors across a broad range of birth weights and that their effects are additive. Below 750 g, there is an interaction between birth weight and SNAP. Other factors that showed independent predictive power were low Apgar score at 5 minutes and small size for gestational age. Separate derivation and test samples were used to demonstrate that the SNAP-PE is comparable to the best logistic model and has a sensitivity and specificity superior to either birth weight or SNAP alone (receiver-operator characteristic area .92 +/- .02) as well as excellent goodness of fit.This simplified clinical score provides accurate mortality risk estimates for application in a broad array of clinical and research settings.
View details for Web of Science ID A1993KZ79200018
View details for PubMedID 8474818
Many neonates are referred to neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) for specialized care far from their parents' residence. This distance can add to the stress of the parents and reduce the contact of the parents with their newborn. Small studies have found that back transporting these neonates to hospitals closer to their homes is safe and cost-effective. Despite these findings, the reluctance of many insurers to pay for back transports prevents or delays many back transports. Insurers may not consider the findings of the previous studies to be conclusive, given that the comparisons were between small numbers of neonates back transported and neonates who remained in tertiary care, and the potential for differences in severity of illness between the groups is significant. In this study the effect on hospital charges of back transports was examined by comparing the charges for care in community hospitals with what these charges would have been in a tertiary care center. The advantage of this method is that it avoids case-mix differences between the groups and thus minimizes the potential for small-sample bias. Data were collected for all back transports from a NICU to non-tertiary care centers (n = 90) for a 9-month period. We were able to obtain the itemized bills for the care at community hospitals for 42 of these patients. Each bill was recalculated using the charges for the NICU to determine potential for savings. The average charges for recovery care were about $6200 lower at the community hospital than they would have been at the NICU.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
View details for Web of Science ID A1992JA85400005
View details for PubMedID 1614772
Professional liability costs and fear of lawsuits have made participation in Medicaid difficult for office-based physicians who provide prenatal care, both obstetricians and family physicians. We assessed the possible impact of changes in three liability policy reforms on expanding access of Medicaid-eligible pregnant women to these private physicians. We surveyed members of the New York State District of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the New York Academy of Family Physicians to explore whether they would start, expand, or resume obstetric service to Medicaid patients in response to a ceiling on litigation awards, no-fault insurance and a subsidy for liability expenses. We then compared the reported increases in participation on the basis of liability reforms to those in response to changes in Medicaid policies. We found in general that the three liability reforms would have similar impacts on Medicaid participation, although a subsidy was indicated by fewer physicians than the ceiling or no-fault approaches. The support for the liability reforms was as effective as proposals of greater reimbursement rates. The proportion of obstetricians or family physicians increasing their participation depended more on whether they would be starting Medicaid participation, expanding existing Medicaid participation or resuming former Medicaid participation than on the particular liability policy.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
View details for Web of Science ID A1992JA60500004
View details for PubMedID 1641207
The California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program is a new preventive approach to improving pregnancy outcomes through intensive diabetes management preconception and early in pregnancy.Hospital charges and length of stay data were collected on 102 program enrollees and 218 control cases. Ninety program enrollees and 90 control cases were matched on mother's age. White's classification, and race. Regression models controlled for these variables in addition to MediCal status, birth weight, and enrollment in the program.Hospital charges were about 30% less for program participants and days in the hospital were roughly 25% less. The program effects were larger for women that enrolled before 8 weeks gestation. More serious diabetics were also found to have larger reductions in charges and days.After adjusting for inflation and differences in charges across hospitals, $5.19 is saved for every dollar spent on the program.
View details for Web of Science ID A1992HL39800003
View details for PubMedID 1739141
--To examine the added neonatal cost and length of hospital stay associated with fetal cocaine exposure.--All cocaine-exposed infants in the study population (n = 355) were compared with a random sample of unexposed infants (n = 199). Regression analysis was used to control for the independent effects of maternal age, smoking, alcohol consumption, prenatal care, race, gravidity, and sex of the infant.--A large, public, inner-city hospital studied from 1985 to 1986.--All infants were routinely tested for illicit substances, records were reviewed for maternal histories of substance abuse, and all known cocaine-exposed singleton infants were included.--Cost and length of stay until each infant was medically cleared for hospital discharge and cost and length of stay until each infant was actually discharged from the hospital.--Neonatal hospital costs until medically cleared for discharge were $5200 more for cocaine-exposed infants than for unexposed infants (a difference of $7957 vs $2757 [P = .003]). The costs of infants remaining in the nursery while awaiting home and social evaluation or foster care placement increased this difference by more than $3500 (P less than .0001). Compared with other forms of cocaine, fetal exposure to crack was associated with much larger cost increases ($6735 vs $1226). Exposure to other illicit substances in addition to cocaine was also associated with much larger cost increases ($8450 vs $1283).--At the national level, we estimate that these individual medical costs add up to about $500 million. The large magnitude of these costs indicates that effective treatment programs for maternal cocaine abusers could yield savings within their first year of operation.
View details for Web of Science ID A1991GE45800032
View details for PubMedID 1880883
The authors apply a conditional choice model to simulate the results of patient and physician choices of hospitals for a specific surgical procedure in response to improvements in quality or changes in charges. The model includes all zip code areas and relevant hospitals in a large metropolitan area and estimates the impact on admissions at each hospital. It can be used to estimate both the impact of decisions by a given hospital and the potential responses of competitors, as well as the effects of selective contracting with hospitals by certain payors.
View details for PubMedID 10116316
EXOSURF is a protein-free surfactant composed of 85% dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine, 9% hexadecanol, and 6% tyloxapol by weight. A single dose of 5 mL of EXOSURF per kilogram body weight, which gave 67 mg of dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine per kilogram body weight, or 5 mL/kg air was given intratracheally in each of two controlled trials: at birth to neonates 700 through 1350 g (the prophylactic trial, n = 74) or at 4 to 24 hours after birth to neonates greater than 650 g who had hyaline membrane disease severe enough to require mechanical ventilation (the rescue trial, n = 104). In both studies, time-averaged inspired oxygen concentrations and mean airway pressures during the 72 hours after entry decreased significantly (P less than .05) in the treated neonates when compared with control neonates. Thirty-six percent of the treated neonates in the rescue study had an incomplete response to treatment or relapsed within 24 hours, suggesting the need for retreatment in some neonates. In the rescue trial, risk-adjusted survival increased significantly in the treated group. There were no significant differences in intracranial hemorrhages, chronic lung disease, or symptomatic patent ductus arteriosus between control and treated infants in either trial.
View details for Web of Science ID A1991FV06200001
View details for PubMedID 2057244
The adoption by Medicare in 1983 of prospective payment using diagnosis-related groups (DRGs) has stimulated research to develop case-mix grouping schemes that more accurately predict resource consumption by patients. In this article, the authors explore a new method designed to improve case-mix classification for newborns through the use of birth weight in combination with DRGs to adjust the unexplained case-mix severity. Although the findings are developmental in nature, they reveal that the model significantly improves our ability to explain resource use.
View details for PubMedID 10122360
In recent years, much information has been provided to the public and to physicians about hospital quality measured in terms of patient outcomes. To examine if, before these public data releases, quality influenced the attractiveness of a hospital to referring or admitting physicians and to patients, we estimated the influences of quality, charges, ownership, and distance on the choice of hospitals for patients with seven surgical procedures and five medical diagnoses in hospitals in three geographic areas in California in 1983. Greater distance and public or proprietary ownership consistently reduced the likelihood of selection while medical school affiliation increased the likelihood of selection. For five of seven surgical procedures and two of five medical diagnoses, hospitals with poorer than expected outcomes attracted significantly fewer admissions. The reverse held for two surgical procedures and one medical diagnosis. The results suggest that quality played an important role in choices among hospitals even before explicit data were widely available.
View details for Web of Science ID A1990DF97200028
View details for PubMedID 2110985
View details for Web of Science ID A1990CW53900002
View details for Web of Science ID A1990CW53900005
It is plausible that distance, quality, and hospital charges all influence which hospital patients (and their referring physicians) choose. Several researchers have estimated conditional choice models that explicitly incorporate the existence of competing hospitals. To be useful for hospital administrators, health planners and insurers, however, estimates must be made for specific types of patients and include entire market areas. Data sets meeting these requirements have many combinations of hospitals and locations with zero patients. This raises computational difficulties with the linear estimation techniques used previously. In this paper, we use data on patients undergoing cardiac catheterization in several market areas to assess alternative estimation techniques. First, we estimate the conditional choice model with the two techniques used previously to transform the non-linear choice model. These involve using as a reference (1) a single hospital, or (2) the geometric mean of all the hospitals in the market. When there are many zeros, these techniques require extensive adjustments to the data which may lead to biased estimators. We then compare these results with maximum likelihood estimates. The latter results are substantively and significantly different from those using traditional techniques. More importantly, the linear estimates are much more sensitive to the proportion of zeros. We thus conclude that maximum likelihood estimates are preferable when there are many zeros.
View details for PubMedID 10296934
This study used 1982-1986 data on 262 private community hospitals to evaluate the effects of selective contracting for inpatient services by California's Medicaid program. Selective contracting by Medicaid significantly reduced the rate of inflation in average costs per admission and per patient day, while slightly increasing average lengths of patient stays. Private sector contracting also reduced cost inflation rates significantly and caused small, non-significant, reductions in lengths of stays. Hospital savings in 1986 due to Medicaid selective contracting were $836 million, 7.6% of what hospital expenditures would have been in the absence of contracting.
View details for PubMedID 10313470
Clinical and billing data were collected on all admissions to six California newborn intensive care units during a 6-month period. Charges were adjusted to costs using Medicaid cost to charge ratios and for inflation, and patients were classified by the diagnosis-related group (DRG) system. Costs were from 97% to 708% more than the proposed DRG reimbursement levels. Regression analysis showed that DRGs explained 22% of the variation in costs. An alternative model using binary variables to control for birth weight, assisted ventilation, surgery, survival, multiple births, and mode of discharge explained 42% of the variation in costs. In contrast to other proposed DRG alternatives, this simple model does not require special training or subjective decision-making.
View details for Web of Science ID A1986E633300010
View details for PubMedID 3093968
To understand the sources of the high costs of neonatal intensive care, financial and medical information on 1,185 admissions to an intensive care nursery was gathered. Multiple regression analysis showed that a significant portion of the variation in individual costs was explained by three measures of risk: low birth weight, surgical intervention, and assisted ventilation. There was a highly skewed distribution of costs. Nearly half of all admissions had none of the above risk factors, had an average cost of about $2,000, and accounted for only 13% of the total costs for the whole sample. In contrast, less than one quarter of the admissions had two or more of the risk factors, had an average cost of $19,800, and accounted for nearly 60% of the total costs. Models that predict costs and length of stay on a basis of seven risk factors were developed to allow for differences in patient populations.
View details for Web of Science ID A1981ME20700001
View details for PubMedID 6792583