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Hanchate AD, Ash AS, Borzecki A, Abdulkerim H, Stolzmann KL, Rosen AK, Fink AS, Pugh MJ, Shokeen P, Shwartz M. How pooling fragmented healthcare encounter data affects hospital profiling. The American journal of managed care. 2015 Feb 1; 21(2):129-38.
OBJECTIVES: People receiving healthcare from multiple payers (eg, Medicare and the Veterans Health Administration [VA]) have fragmented health records. How the use of more complete data affects hospital profiling has not been examined. STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. METHODS: We examined 30-day mortality following acute myocardial infarction at 104 VA hospitals for veterans 66 years and older from 2006 through 2010 who were also Medicare beneficiaries. Using VA-only data versus combined VA/Medicare data, we calculated 2 risk-standardized mortality rates (RSMRs): 1 based on observed mortality (O/E) and the other from CMS' Hospital Compare program, based on model-predicted mortality (P/E). We also categorized hospital outlier status based on RSMR relative to overall VA mortality: average, better than average, and worse than average. We tested whether hospitals whose patients received more of their care through Medicare would look relatively better when including those data in risk adjustment, rather than including VA data alone. RESULTS: Thirty-day mortality was 14.8%. Adding Medicare data caused both RSMR measures to significantly increase in about half the hospitals and decrease in the other half. O/E RSMR increased in 53 hospitals, on average, by 2.2%, and decreased in 51 hospitals by -2.6%. P/E RSMR increased, on average, by 1.2% in 56 hospitals, and decreased in the others by -1.3%. Outlier designation changed for 4 hospitals using O/E measure, but for no hospitals using P/E measure. CONCLUSIONS: VA hospitals vary in their patients' use of Medicare-covered care and completeness of health records based on VA data alone. Using combined VA/Medicare data provides modestly different hospital profiles compared with those using VA-alone data.