[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To examine medical care use and costs, patterns of morbidity and co-morbidity, and other patient characteristics of high users of physician services in British Columbia.
This population-based study uses physician claims, hospital discharge summaries and vital statistics data linked at the level of the individual to compare characteristics of high users, other users and non-users of physician services in the Province of British Columbia, Canada. The study included all enrolled adults in the universal health care plan during fiscal year 1996/97. High users were defined as the most costly 5% of users of fee-reimbursed services. Key variables included age, sex, an ecological socio-economic status indicator and a comprehensive set of morbidity indicators, derived from the diagnoses recorded on the utilization records.
The top 5% of users consumed a disproportionate 30% of spending on physician services. High users were overwhelmingly characterized by a significant burden of morbidity. Over 80% had at least six different types of morbidity during the study year compared with fewer than 20% of other users. High users were also much more likely to have major diagnoses that were both acute and chronic in nature. Co-morbidity involving psychosocial and chronic medical conditions was also very common.
High users of physician services are overwhelmingly characterized by multiple and complex health problems. Policy tools based on a philosophy of deterrence such as cost-sharing are unlikely to have much impact on their costs and will likely do considerable harm.
Journal of Health Services Research & Policy 11/2003; 8(4):215-24. · 1.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 1998/99, the British Columbia Medical Association (BCMA) asked physicians to withdraw elective services on a series of 20 Rationed Access Days (RADs). This work stoppage was called to protest continued free proration triggered by total physician billings exceeding a fixed budget cap. This paper examines how physicians' practice activity changed on RADs, the rates of participation in this job action and characteristics of those physicians who participated.
Population-based cohort study of physicians based on administrative data.
All full-time physicians billing the provincial healthcare plan.
Participation in the RAD initiative was inferred by comparing physicians' average daily billings on RADs, Sundays, holidays and regular weekdays. Using thresholds established from these distributions, the number of RADs observed by each physician in 1998/99 was calculated and examined in relation to their demographics, location and prior years of practice activity.
For the 4,131 physicians studied, average daily payments on RADs were similar to those on Sundays and holidays but much lower than those on non-holiday, non-RAD weekdays. Using billing thresholds of $200 (for GPs) and $400 (for specialists), we found a high degree of participation with the study population observing a median of 15 of the 20 scheduled RADs. While there were some differences in participation among age groups, geography and the prior years of practice activity, the differences were small.
This study found high solidarity in the BCMA's 1998/99 RAD initiative. Most full-time fee-for-service FS physicians appeared to participate in at least three-quarters of the 20 scheduled RADs.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper was commissioned by the Canadian Health Service Reseah Foundation, the CanadianInstitute for Health Information and the Fedaral/Provincil/Territorial Advisory Committee on Health Services, as background information for a national workshop to develop measurement indicators for continuity of care. It explores the different concepts of continuity, their common themes and measurement approaches.
University of British Columbia - Centre for Health Services and Policy Research., Centre for Health Services and Policy Research. 01/2001;
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There has been considerable downsizing of acute care services in British Columbia over the past 2 decades. In this population-based study we examined changes in the proportion of elderly people who used acute care, long-term care and home care services between 1986-1988 and 1993-1995 to explore whether the downsizing has influenced use. Changes in death rates were also examined.
The British Columbia Linked Health Database was used to select all British Columbia residents aged 65 years, 75-76 years, 85-87 years or 90-93 years as of Jan. 1, 1986 (cohort 1), and Jan. 1, 1993 (cohort 2). Each person was assigned to 1 of 6 mutually exclusive categories of health care use reflecting different intensities of use (i.e., hospital, long-term or home care). The proportions of people within each category were compared between the 2 periods, as were the age-standardized death rates.
There were 79,175 people in cohort 1 and 92,320 in cohort 2. Overall, the relative proportion of people in each use category was similar between the 2 study periods. The most substantial changes were an increase of 2 percentage points in the proportion of people who received no facility or home care services and a decrease of 2 to 3 percentage points in the proportion who received some acute care but no facility-based continuing care. The age-adjusted all-cause death rates for the earlier and later cohorts were virtually identical (15.7% and 15.8% respectively), although the rate increased from 63.6% to 70.1% among those in the "full-time facility with acute care" group.
Overall changes in health care use were small, which suggests that the repercussions of the decline in acute care services for elderly people have been minimal. The higher age-adjusted death rates in the later cohort in full-time care suggests that long-term stays are becoming reserved for a sicker group of elderly people than in the past.
Canadian Medical Association Journal 09/2000; 163(4):397-401. · 6.47 Impact Factor