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OBJECTIVE - To determine which work-related injuries are the most frequent and costly.
DESIGN - Secondary analysis of workers' compensation claims data.
SETTING - Data were provided by a large, Maryland workers' compensation insurer from 1998 through 2008.
PARTICIPANTS - Not applicable.
INTERVENTIONS - None.
MAIN OUTCOMES MEASURES - For 45 injury types, the number of claims and compensation amount was calculated for total compensation and for medical and indemnity compensation separately.
RESULTS - Back and knee injuries were the most frequently occurring single injury types, whereas heart attack and occupational disease were the most expensive in terms of mean compensation. When taking into account both the frequency and cost of injury (mean cost × number occurrences), back, knee, and shoulder injuries were the most expensive single injury types.
CONCLUSIONS - Successful prevention and management of back, knee, and shoulder injuries could lead to a substantial reduction in the burden associated with work-related injuries.
Copyright © 2014 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND CONTEXT - A physician's role within a workers' compensation injury extends far beyond just evaluation and treatment with several socioeconomic and psychological factors at play compared with similar injuries occurring outside of the workplace. Although workers' compensation statutes vary among states, all have several basic features with the overall goal of returning the injured worker to maximal function in the shortest time period, with the least residual disability and shortest time away from work.
PURPOSE - To help physicians unfamiliar with the workers' compensation process accomplish these goals.
STUDY DESIGN - Review.
METHODS - Educational review.
RESULTS - The streamlined review addresses the topics of why is workers' compensation necessary; what does workers' compensation cover; progression after work injury; impairment and maximum medical improvement, including how to use the sixth edition of American Medical Association's (AMA) Guides to the evaluation of permanent impairment (Guides); completion of work injury claim after impairment rating; independent medical evaluation; and causation.
CONCLUSIONS - In the "no-fault" workers' compensation system, physicians play a key role in progressing the claim along and, more importantly, getting the injured worker back to work as soon as safely possible. Physicians should remain familiar with the workers' compensation process, along with how to properly use the AMA Guides.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Researchers are increasingly interested in using observational data to evaluate cancer outcomes following treatment, including cancer recurrence and disease-free survival. Because population-based cancer registries do not collect recurrence data, recurrence is often imputed from health claims, primarily by identifying later cancer treatments after initial treatment. The validity of this approach has not been established.
RESEARCH DESIGN - We used the linked Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare data to assess the sensitivity of Medicare claims for cancer recurrence in patients very likely to have had a recurrence. We selected newly diagnosed stage II/III colorectal (n=6910) and female breast cancer (n=3826) patients during 1994-2003 who received initial cancer surgery, had a treatment break, and then died from cancer in 1994-2008. We reviewed all claims from the treatment break until death for indicators of recurrence. We focused on additional cancer treatment (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy) as the primary indicator, and used multivariate logistic regression analysis to evaluate patient factors associated with additional treatment. We also assessed metastasis diagnoses and end-of-life care as recurrence indicators.
RESULTS - Additional treatment was the first indicator of recurrence for 38.8% of colorectal patients and 35.2% of breast cancer patients. Patients aged 70 and older were less likely to have additional treatment (P < 0.05), in adjusted analyses. Over 20% of patients either had no recurrence indicator before death or had end-of-life care as their first indicator.
CONCLUSIONS - Identifying recurrence through additional cancer treatment in Medicare claims will miss a large percentage of patients with recurrences; particularly those who are older.
BACKGROUND - The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) patient safety indicator "death among surgical inpatients with serious treatable complications" (failure-to-rescue) uses rules to exclude complications presumed to be present-on-admission (POA). Like other administrative data-based quality measures, exclusion rules were developed with limited information on whether complications were POA. We examine whether the accuracy of failure-to-rescue exclusion rules can be improved with data with good POA indicators.
METHODS - POA-coded data from 243,825 discharges from a large academic medical center were used to develop 3 failure-to-rescue exclusion rules. Data from 82,871 discharges from California hospitals screened for good POA coding practices was used as a validation sample. The AHRQ failure-to-rescue measure and 3 new measures based on alternative exclusion rules were compared on sensitivity, specificity, and C-statistics for prediction of POA status. Using data from the AHRQ HCUP National Inpatient Sample, the alternative specifications were tested for sensitivity to nurse staffing.
RESULTS - The AHRQ exclusion rules had sensitivity of 18.5%, specificity 92.1%, and a C-statistic of 0.553. All POA-informed specifications of exclusion rules improved the C-statistic of the failure-to-rescue measure and its sensitivity, with modest losses of specificity. For all tested specifications, higher licensed hours and proportions of registered nurse were statistically significant and associated with lower risk of death.
CONCLUSIONS - Failure-to-rescue is a robust quality measure, sensitive to nursing across alternative exclusion rule specifications. Despite expanded POA coding, exclusion-based rules are needed to analyze datasets not coded for POA, legacy datasets, and datasets with poor POA coding. POA-informed construction of exclusions significantly improves rules identifying POA complications.
PURPOSE - Previous studies suggest that disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) increase tuberculosis (TB) risk. The accuracy of pharmacy and coded-diagnosis information to identify persons with TB is unclear.
METHODS - Within a cohort of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients (2000-2005) enrolled in Tennessee Medicaid, we identified those with potential TB using International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD9-CM) diagnosis codes and/or pharmacy claims. Using the Tennessee TB registry as the gold standard for identification of TB, we estimated the sensitivity, specificity, predictive values, and the respective 95% confidence intervals for each TB case-ascertainment strategy.
RESULTS - Ten of 18,094 RA patients had confirmed TB during 61,461 person-years of follow-up (16.3 per 100,000 person-years). The sensitivity and positive predictive value (PPV) and respective 95% confidence intervals were low for confirmed TB based on ICD9-CM codes alone (60.0% (26.2-87.8) and 1.3% (0.5-2.9)), pharmacy data alone (20% (2.5-55.6) and 4.1% (0.5-14.3)), and both (20% (2.5-55.6) and 25.0% (3.2-65.1)).
CONCLUSIONS - Algorithms that use administrative data alone to identify TB have a poor PPV that results in a high false positive rate of TB detection.
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
BACKGROUND - Generic ciclosporin A modified (CsA) does not have an equivalent pharmacokinetic profile to branded CsA in some transplant populations, potentially leading to negative clinical consequences and increased long-term costs.
OBJECTIVE - To assess direct healthcare costs for de novo renal transplant recipients in the US receiving branded versus generic CsA in the first month after transplantation.
METHODS - Administrative claims data from eight private US health plans were linked to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network data. A total of 227 renal transplant cases between 1996 and 2004 were included: 183 were dispensed branded CsA and 44 received generic CsA. Log transformed multiple linear regression was used to model total first-year healthcare costs after the initial CsA claim, controlling for both patient demographics and clinical characteristics and clustering at the transplant centre level.
RESULTS - After controlling for patient factors and pre-CsA costs, total healthcare costs were significantly higher (p = 0.04) for patients receiving generic CsA versus branded CsA. The main driver for the difference was the cost associated with immunosuppressants other than CsA (p = 0.01).
CONCLUSION - Despite initial perceived cost savings associated with generic CsA, de novo renal transplant recipients incurred greater total healthcare costs than those treated with branded CsA. Patients receiving generic CsA may need higher doses or other immunosuppressants to maintain the transplanted kidney than patients receiving branded CsA. Providers and payers need to be aware of potential differences in total healthcare costs between formulations of bioequivalent critical-dose drugs to make the best choice for patient care.
PURPOSE - This study estimated the economic burden of breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) among working-age women, the incidence of lymphedema, and associated risk factors.
METHODS - We used claims data to study an incident cohort of breast cancer patients for the 2 years after the initiation of cancer treatment. A logistic regression model was used to ascertain factors associated with lymphedema. We compared the medical costs and rate of infections likely associated with lymphedema between a woman with BCRL and a matched control. We performed nonparametric bootstrapping to compare the unadjusted cost differences and estimated the adjusted cost differences in regression analysis.
RESULTS - Approximately 10% of the 1,877 patients had claims indicating treatment of lymphedema. Predictors included treatment with full axillary node dissection (odds ratio [OR] = 6.3, P < .001) and chemotherapy (OR = 1.6, P = .01). A geographic variation was observed; women who resided in the West were more likely to have lymphedema claims than those in the Northeast (OR = 2.05, P = .01). The matched cohort analysis demonstrated that the BCRL group had significantly higher medical costs ($14,877 to $23,167) and was twice as likely to have lymphangitis or cellulitis (OR = 2.02, P = .009). Outpatient care, especially mental health services, diagnostic imaging, and visits with moderate or high complexity, accounted for the majority of the difference.
CONCLUSION - Although the use of claims data may underestimate the true incidence of lymphedema, women with BCRL had a greater risk of infections and incurred higher medical costs. The substantial costs documented here suggest that further efforts should be made to elucidate reduction and prevention strategies for BCRL.
OBJECTIVE - Biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are efficacious for treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, measurements of relative effectiveness, including treatment adherence and persistence, are lacking. We evaluated adherence and persistence during new episodes of use of traditional and biologic DMARDs.
METHODS - Using Tennessee Medicaid databases (1995-2004), we assembled a retrospective cohort of patients diagnosed with RA, and identified new episodes of use for 12 DMARD regimens. We evaluated persistence through survival analyses, and adherence within episodes through the medication possession ratio. A risk score was included in the analyses to account for measured confounders.
RESULTS - We identified 14,932 patients with RA; 6018 patients had 10,547 episodes of new use of DMARDs. Considering methotrexate as the reference and after adjustment for measured confounders, episodes of new use of sulfasalazine [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) = 1.59; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.47-1.72] and infliximab alone (aHR = 1.37, 95% CI = 1.09-1.73) were more likely to be discontinued; and new episodes of etanercept (aHR = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.73-0.92) and methotrexate + adalimumab (aHR = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.48-0.84) were less likely to be discontinued. Compared with methotrexate, adherence was higher for leflunomide, infliximab, etanercept, and adalimumab and lower for sulfasalazine and all combined therapies.
CONCLUSIONS - We developed an approach to assess persistence on and adherence to the most common DMARD therapies. In this large cohort, persistence and adherence to leflunomide and most biologic DMARD therapies were at least comparable to methotrexate. Adherence was lower for sulfasalazine and all combined therapies.
OBJECTIVE - In the United States, data on transplanted and waitlisted patients collected by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) have been widely used in transplantation research. Administrative claims data, collected by health plans for reimbursement purposes, are also commonly used in health-services research. This study linked OPTN and private payer claims data to assess the relationship between data elements common to both sources.
METHODS - All transplanted or waitlisted patients in the registry were considered for inclusion. A multistep match algorithm was employed to link OPTN and payer data from years 1995 to 2004. Variables common to both datasets that contained relevant information for similar time periods were compared.
RESULTS - A total of 21,419 solid organ transplant recipients and 8808 waitlist patients were included in the final linked database. Organ type and demographic variable distributions in the linked dataset were similar to the overall OPTN database. Using claims as the reference group, sensitivity and specificity values were on average 0.72 and 0.69, respectively, and were highest for the indicators of immunosuppression use at discharge and follow-up.
CONCLUSION - This comparison of payer data with information reported by transplant centers to the OPTN provides important insight into the value of both data sources. Using administrative claims to augment the registry data with utilization and cost information will be useful for evaluation of both economic and clinical endpoints in solid organ transplantation.