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To investigate the effects of a 1985 Tennessee Medicaid regulatory change that expanded eligibility coverage specifically for married women during pregnancy, we studied vital statistics files linked to Medicaid enrollment files. The greatest Medicaid coverage increase in terms of an absolute difference in rates and the number of women covered occurred in white married women younger than 25 years with less than 12 years of education, where enrollment increased 18%. However, in that group of mothers, as well as for the total of all mothers studied, there were no concomitant improvements in use of early prenatal care, birth weight, or neonatal mortality. Analysis of the timing of enrollment relative to the beginning of pregnancy showed that more than two thirds of the women who enrolled did so after the first trimester.
In a recent effort to lower the US infant mortality rate, Congress has expanded the Medicaid coverage options that states may offer pregnant women. Careful evaluation of changes in perinatal outcome associated with this expanded coverage is needed. The linkage of Medicaid enrollment files of mothers and infants to birth, death, and fetal death certificates is an initial step in assessing the effectiveness that Medicaid coverage expansions have had on pregnancy outcome. Creation of such a database for Tennessee for 1984-1987 revealed that complete information on mother, delivery, and child is available for only three quarters of Medicaid-reimbursed births. Furthermore, Medicaid-reimbursed births that had all three data components had different characteristics and lower mortality rates than did births with missing elements. Those persons seeking to evaluate expanded Medicaid coverage for pregnant women need to be aware that consideration of only those births for whom there is information on mother, delivery, and child may lead to serious underascertainment of fetal, perinatal, and neonatal mortality rates.
To compare the incidence of all nonvertebral fractures between elderly blacks and whites, the authors conducted a retrospective cohort study among Tennessee Medicaid enrollees aged 65 years or more from 1987 through 1989. A previously validated computer algorithm identified 6,802 persons of black or white race with 7,645 new nonvertebral fractures. The incidence of all nonvertebral fractures in blacks was only half of that in whites. This finding persisted after the authors controlled for sex, age, and nursing home residence (relative risk = 0.4, 95% confidence interval 0.4-0.5). Rates were consistently lower among blacks within subgroups defined by these factors and for each of the 13 different fracture sites examined. The magnitude of the difference between blacks and whites in rates of all fractures combined and most site-specific fractures is similar to that previously reported for hip fractures. These consistent racial differences suggest a common underlying factor(s).
OBJECTIVE - To describe the relative importance of factors influencing pediatricians' participation in Medicaid in North Carolina.
DESIGN - Questionnaire survey.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS - Nonacademic primary care pediatricians in direct patient care at least 50% of the time; 332 (85%) of the 389 eligible pediatricians responded.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES - Proportion of pediatricians who restricted Medicaid patients' access to their practices. The association between restricting access and the following factors was assessed: Medicaid reimbursement, pediatricians' demographic characteristics, knowledge of the Medicaid program, attitudes toward Medicaid patients and the Medicaid program, and beliefs about whether other physicians were available to care for Medicaid patients.
RESULTS - Twenty-nine percent of pediatricians restricted Medicaid patients' access to their practices. The proportion of pediatricians restricting access was 62% in cities, 13% in medium-sized towns, and 12% in small towns (P less than .001), but the proportion of pediatricians in cities who restricted access varied from 87% to 22%. Pediatricians who received a higher proportion of their usual fee were less likely to restrict Medicaid patients' access. The relationship between Medicaid payment and restricted access was substantially weakened after controlling for the following factors: (1) the size of the community, (2) pediatricians' attitudes toward Medicaid payment, (3) their perceptions that they were too busy to care for Medicaid patients, and (4) whether there were other resources for the care of Medicaid patients. At comparable levels of payment, rural pediatricians were about six times less likely than urban pediatricians to restrict access. Pediatricians who knew less about Medicaid reimbursement also restricted access more often. Whether or not they restricted access to new Medicaid patients, pediatricians provided acute, preventive, hospital, and emergency care to the Medicaid patients who were already in their practices.
CONCLUSIONS - Existing resources for the care of Medicaid patients, pediatricians' economic dependence on Medicaid, and the local norms of practice may be important factors in pediatricians' decision to participate in Medicaid. Increasing reimbursement will have only modest effects on Medicaid participation. Strategies to improve participation should also address pediatricians' knowledge of the Medicaid program and enlist the support of community physicians.