Health Services Research & Development

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Maust DT, Lin LA, Blow FC, Marcus SC. County and Physician Variation in Benzodiazepine Prescribing to Medicare Beneficiaries by Primary Care Physicians in the USA. Journal of general internal medicine. 2018 Dec 1; 33(12):2180-2188.
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Abstract: BACKGROUND: Physicians widely prescribe benzodiazepines (BZD) despite well-recognized harms. OBJECTIVE: To determine county and provider characteristics that predict high-intensity BZD prescribing by primary care physicians (PCPs) to Medicare beneficiaries. DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis of the 2015 Medicare Part D Public Use Files (PUF). SUBJECTS: n?=?122,054 PCPs who prescribed 37.3 billion medication days. MAIN MEASURES: Primary outcome was intensity of BZD prescribing (days prescribed/total medication days) at the county- and physician levels. PCP and county characteristics were derived from the Part D PUF, Area Health Resources Files, and County Health Rankings. Logistic regression determined the characteristics associated with high-intensity (top quartile) BZD prescribing. KEY RESULTS: Beneficiaries were prescribed over 1.2 billion days of BZD in 2015, accounting for 2.3% of all medication days prescribed in Part D. Top quartile counties had 3.1 times higher BZD prescribing than the lowest (3.4% vs. 1.1%; F?=?3293.8, df?=?3, p?