Health Serv Res 38:1319-1337.
VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA, USA
OBJECTIVE: To compare the rankings for health care utilization performance measures at the facility level in a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) health care delivery network using pharmacy- and diagnosis-based case-mix adjustment measures.
DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: The study included veterans who used inpatient or outpatient services in Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 20 during fiscal year 1998 (October 1997 to September 1998; N = 126,076). Utilization and pharmacy data were extracted from VHA national databases and the VISN 20 data warehouse.
STUDY DESIGN: We estimated concurrent regression models using pharmacy or diagnosis information in the base year (FY1998) to predict health service utilization in the same year. Utilization measures included bed days of care for inpatient care and provider visits for outpatient care.
PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Rankings of predicted utilization measures across facilities vary by case-mix adjustment measure. There is greater consistency within the diagnosis-based models than between the diagnosis- and pharmacy-based models. The eight facilities were ranked differently by the diagnosis- and pharmacy-based models.
CONCLUSIONS: Choice of case-mix adjustment measure affects rankings of facilities on performance measures, raising concerns about the validity of profiling practices. Differences in rankings may reflect differences in comparability of data capture across facilities between pharmacy and diagnosis data sources, and unstable estimates due to small numbers of patients in a facility.
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