Public Health Spending and Medicare Resource Use: A Longitudinal Analysis of U.S. Communities.
ABSTRACT: To examine whether local expenditures for public health activities influence area-level medical spending for Medicare beneficiaries.Six census surveys of the nation's 2,900 local public health agencies were conducted between 1993 and 2013, linked with contemporaneous information on population demographics, socioeconomic characteristics, and area-level Medicare spending estimates from the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care.Measures derive from agency survey data and aggregated Medicare claims.A longitudinal cohort design follows the geographic areas served by local public health agencies. Multivariate, fixed-effects, and instrumental-variables regression models estimate how area-level Medicare spending changes in response to shifts in local public health spending, controlling for observed and unmeasured confounders.A 10 percent increase in local public health spending per capita was associated with 0.8 percent reduction in adjusted Medicare expenditures per person after 1 year (p < .01) and a 1.1 percent reduction after 5 years (p < .05). Estimated Medicare spending offsets were larger in communities with higher rates of poverty, lower health insurance coverage, and health professional shortages.Expanded financing for public health activities may provide an effective way of constraining Medicare spending, particularly in low-resource communities.
Project description:To examine the extent of variation in public health agency spending levels across communities and over time, and to identify institutional and community correlates of this variation.Three cross-sectional surveys of the nation's 2,900 local public health agencies conducted by the National Association of County and City Health Officials in 1993, 1997, and 2005, linked with contemporaneous information on population demographics, socioeconomic characteristics, and health resources.A longitudinal cohort design was used to analyze community-level variation and change in per-capita public health agency spending between 1993 and 2005. Multivariate regression models for panel data were used to estimate associations between spending, institutional characteristics, health resources, and population characteristics.The top 20 percent of communities had public health agency spending levels >13 times higher than communities in the lowest quintile, and most of this variation persisted after adjusting for differences in demographics and service mix. Local boards of health and decentralized state-local administrative structures were associated with higher spending levels and lower risks of spending reductions. Local public health agency spending was inversely associated with local-area medical spending.The mechanisms that determine funding flows to local agencies may place some communities at a disadvantage in securing resources for public health activities.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To examine the effects of the penetration of dual-eligible special needs plans (D-SNPs) on health care spending. DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING:Secondary state-level panel data from Medicare-Medicaid Linked Enrollee Analytic Data Source (MMLEADS) public use file and Special Needs Plan Comprehensive Reports, Area Health Resource Files, and Medicaid Managed Care Enrollment Report between 2007 and 2011. STUDY DESIGN:A difference-in-difference strategy that adjusts for dual-eligibles' demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, state health resources, beneficiaries' health risk factors, Medicare/Medicaid enrollment, and state- and year-fixed effects. DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS:Data from MMLEADS were summarized from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)'s Chronic Conditions Data Warehouse, which contains 100 percent of Medicare enrollment data, claims for beneficiaries who are enrolled in the fee-for-service (FFS) program, and Medicaid Analytic Extract files. The MMLEADS public use file also includes payment information for managed care. Data in Special Needs Plan Comprehensive Reports were from CMS's Health Plan Management System. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Results indicate that D-SNPs penetration was associated with reduced Medicare spending per dual-eligible beneficiary. Specifically, a 1 percent increase in D-SNPs penetration was associated with 0.2 percent reduction in Medicare spending per beneficiary. We found no association between D-SNPs penetration and Medicaid or total spending. CONCLUSION:Involving Medicaid services in D-SNPs may be crucial to improve coordination between Medicare and Medicaid programs and control Medicaid spending among dual-eligible beneficiaries. Starting from 2013, D-SNPs were mandated to have contracts with state Medicaid agencies. This change may introduce new effects of D-SNPs on health care spending. More research is needed to examine the impact of D-SNPs on dual-eligible spending.
Project description:To investigate whether tax-exempt hospitals' investments in community health are associated with patterns of governmental public health spending focusing specifically on the relationship between hospitals' community benefit expenditures and the spending patterns of local health departments (LHDs).We combined data on tax-exempt hospitals' community benefit spending with data on spending by the corresponding LHD that served the county in which a hospital was located. Data were available for 2 years, 2009 and 2013. Generalized linear regressions were estimated with indicators of hospital community benefit spending as the dependent variable and LHD spending as the key independent variable.Hospital community benefit spending was unrelated to how much local public health agencies spent, per capita, on public health in their communities.Patterns of local public health spending do not appear to impact the investments of tax-exempt hospitals in community health activities. Opportunities may, however, exist for a more active engagement between the public and private sector to ensure that the expenditures of all stakeholders involved in community health improvement efforts complement one another.
Project description:To characterize Medicare expenditures on initial breast cancer care and examine variation in expenditures across hospital referral regions (HRRs).We identified 29,110 women with localized breast cancer diagnosed in 2005-2008 and matched controls from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare linked database.Using hierarchical generalized linear models, we estimated per patient Medicare expenditure on initial breast cancer care across HRRs and assessed the contribution of patient, cancer, and treatment factors to regional variation via incremental models.Mean Medicare expenditure for initial breast cancer care was $19,255 per patient. The average expenditures varied from $15,053 in the lowest-spending HRR quintile to $23,480 in the highest-spending HRR quintile. Patient sociodemographic, comorbidity, and tumor characteristics explained only 1.8 percent of the difference in expenditures between the lowest- and highest-spending quintiles, while use of specific treatment modalities explained 14.5 percent of the difference. Medicare spending on radiation therapy differed the most across the quintiles, with the use of intensity modulated radiation therapy increasing from 1.7 percent in the lowest-spending quintile to 11.6 percent in the highest-spending quintile.Medicare expenditures on initial breast cancer care vary substantially across regions. Treatment factors are major contributors to the variation.
Project description:Public health encompasses a broad array of programs designed to prevent the occurrence of disease and injury within communities. But policy makers have little evidence to draw on when determining the value of investments in these program activities, which currently account for less than 5 percent of US health spending. We examine whether changes in spending by local public health agencies over a thirteen-year period contributed to changes in rates of community mortality from preventable causes of death, including infant mortality and deaths due to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. We found that mortality rates fell between 1.1 percent and 6.9 percent for each 10 percent increase in local public health spending. These results suggest that increased public health investments can produce measurable improvements in health, especially in low-resource communities. However, more money by itself is unlikely to generate significant and sustainable health gains; improvements in public health practices are needed as well.
Project description:There is considerable controversy about the causes of regional variations in health care expenditures. Using vignettes from patient and physician surveys linked to fee-for-service Medicare expenditures, this study asks whether patient demand-side factors or physician supply-side factors explain these variations. The results indicate that patient demand is relatively unimportant in explaining variations. Physician organizational factors matter, but the most important factor is physician beliefs about treatment. In Medicare, we estimate that 35 percent of spending for end-of-life care and 12 percent of spending for heart attack patients (and for all enrollees) is associated with physician beliefs unsupported by clinical evidence. (JEL D83, H75, I11, I18).
Project description:OBJECTIVE: To use the natural experiment created by the Medicare interim payment system (IPS) to study supply change behavior of home health agencies (HHAs) in local market areas. DATA SOURCES: One hundred percent Medicare home health claims for 1996 and 1999, linked with Medicare Provider of Service and Denominator files, and the Area Resource File. STUDY DESIGN: Medicare home health care (HHC) claims data were used to distinguish HHAs that changed the local market supply of Medicare HHC by their market exit or by significant expansion or contraction of their geographic service area between 1996 and 1999 from other HHAs. Multinomial logit models were estimated to analyze how characteristics of agencies and the market areas in which they served were associated with these different agency-level supply changes. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Changes in local HHA supply stemming from geographic service area expansions and contractions rivaled those owing to agency closures and market entries. Agencies at greater risk of closure and service area contraction tended to be smaller, newer, freestanding agencies, operating with more visit-intensive practice styles in markets with more competitor agencies. Except for having much less visit-intensive practice styles, similar attributes characterized agencies that increased local supply through service area expansion. CONCLUSIONS: Supply changes by HHAs largely reflected rational market responses by agencies to significant changes in financial incentives associated with the Medicare IPS. Recently certified agencies were among the most dynamic providers. Supply changes were more likely among agencies operating in more competitive market environments.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>To estimate the effect of the 10 percent cap introduced to Medicare home health care on treatment intensity and patient discharge status.<h4>Data sources</h4>Medicare Denominator, Medicare Home Health Claims, and Medicare Provider of Services Files from 2008 through 2010.<h4>Study design</h4>We used agency-level variation in the proportion of outlier payments prior to the implementation of the 10 percent cap to identify how home health agencies adjusted the number of home health visits and patient discharge status under the new law.<h4>Principal findings</h4>Under the 10 percent cap, agencies dramatically decreased the number of service visits. Agencies also dropped relatively healthy patients and sent sicker patients to nursing homes.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The drastic reduction in the number of service visits and discontinuation of relatively healthy patients from home health care suggest that the 10 percent cap improved the efficiency of home health services as intended. However, the 10 percent cap increased other types of health care expenditures by pushing sicker patients to use more expensive health services.
Project description:The Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes provisions to reduce Medicare beneficiaries' out-of-pocket spending for prescription drugs by gradually closing the coverage gap between the initial coverage limit and the catastrophic coverage threshold (known as the doughnut hole) beginning in 2011. However, Medicare beneficiaries who take specialty pharmaceuticals could still face a large out-of-pocket burden because of uncapped cost sharing in the catastrophic coverage phase. Using 2008-12 pharmacy claims data from a 20 percent sample of Medicare beneficiaries, we analyzed trends in total and out-of-pocket spending among Medicare beneficiaries who take at least one high-cost specialty drug from the top eight specialty drug classes in terms of spending. Annual total drug spending per specialty drug user studied increased considerably during the study period, from $18,335 to $33,301, and the proportion of expenditures incurred while in the catastrophic coverage phase increased from 70 percent to 80 percent. We observed a 26 percent decrease in mean annual out-of-pocket expenditures incurred below the catastrophic coverage threshold, likely attributable to the ACA's doughnut hole cost-sharing reductions, but increases in mean annual out-of-pocket expenditures incurred while in the catastrophic coverage phase offset these reductions almost entirely. Policy makers should consider implementing limits on patients' out-of-pocket burden.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>Assess validity of the retrospective Dartmouth hospital referral region (HRR) end-of-life spending measures by comparing with health care expenditures from diagnosis to death for prospectively identified advanced lung cancer patients.<h4>Data/setting/design</h4>We calculated health care spending from diagnosis (2003-2005) to death or through 2011 for 885 patients aged ?65 years with advanced lung cancer using Medicare claims. We assessed the association between Dartmouth HRR-level spending in the last 2 years of life and patient-level spending using linear regression with random HRR effects, adjusting for patient characteristics.<h4>Findings</h4>For each $1 increase in the Dartmouth metric, spending for our cohort increased by $0.74 (p < .001). The Dartmouth spending variable explained 93.4 percent of the HRR-level variance in observed spending.<h4>Conclusions</h4>HRR-level spending estimates for deceased patient cohorts reflect area-level care intensity for prospectively identified advanced lung cancer patients.