Health Services Utilization After Fractures: Evidence From Medicare

Department of Health Care Organization and Policy, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1665 University Blvd., RPHB 330H, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.
The Journals of Gerontology Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences (Impact Factor: 5.42). 09/2010; 65(9):1012-20. DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glq093
Source: PubMed


Osteoporosis-related fractures impose a large and growing societal burden, including adverse health effects and direct medical costs. Postfracture utilization of health care services represents an alternative measure of the resource costs associated with these fractures.
We use a 5% random sample of Medicare claims data to construct annual cohorts (2000-2004) of beneficiaries diagnosed with incident fractures at one of seven sites--clinical vertebral, hip pelvis, femur, tibia/fibula, humerus, and distal radius/ulna. We use person-specific changes in health services utilization (eg, inpatient acute/postacute days, home health visits, physical, and occupational therapy) before/after fractures and probabilities of entry into (long-term) nursing home residency to estimate the utilization burden associated with fractures.
Relative to the prior 6-month period, rates of acute hospitalization are between 19.5 (distal radius/ulna) and 72.4 (hip) percentage points higher in the 6 months after fractures. Average acute inpatient days are 1.9 (distal radius/ulna) to 8.7 (hip) higher in the postfracture period. Fractures are associated with large increases in all forms of postacute care, including postacute hospitalizations (13.1-71.5 percentage points), postacute inpatient days (6.1-31.4), home health care hours (3.4-8.4), and hours of physical (5.2-23.6) and occupational (4.3-14.0) therapy. Among patients who were community dwelling at the time of the initial fracture, 0.9%-1.1% (2.4%-4.0%) were living in a nursing home 6 months (1 year) after the fracture.
Fractures are associated with significant increases in health services utilization relative to prefracture levels. Additional research is needed to assess the determinants and effectiveness of alternative forms of fracture care.

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    • "Strengthening exercises are usually introduced at 8–12 weeks, once sufficient motion has been restored, and therapy can last as long as 4 months.26 Therapy following DRF is both time intensive and financially expensive and comprises up to 20% of the total expense of caring for these common injuries.3,27 These expenses may not be obvious to surgeons, as the majority of therapy-related expenses are borne by hospitals rather than physician-owned facilities.28–31 "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Distal radius fractures (DRFs) are one of the most common injuries among the elderly, resulting in significant expense and disability. The specific aims of this study are (1) to examine rates of therapy following DRFs and (2) to identify those factors that influence utilization of therapy and time span between DRF treatment and therapy among a national cohort of elderly patients. Methods: We examined national use of physical and occupational therapy among all Medicare beneficiaries who suffered DRFs between January 1, 2007, and October 1, 2007, and assessed the effect of treatment, patient-related, and surgeon-related factors on utilization of therapy. Results: Overall, 20.6% of patients received either physical or occupational therapy following DRF. Use of therapy varied by DRF treatment, and patients who underwent open reduction and internal fixation were more likely to receive therapy compared with patients who received closed reduction. Patients who received open reduction and internal fixation were also referred to therapy earlier compared with patients who received external fixation, percutaneous pinning, and closed reduction. Surgeon specialization is associated with greater use of postoperative therapy. Patient predictors of therapy use include younger age, female sex, higher socioeconomic status, and fewer comorbidity conditions. Conclusion: Use of therapy following DRF varies significantly by both patient- and surgeon-related factors. Identifying patients who benefit from postinjury therapy can allow for better resource utilization following these common injuries.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014
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    • "The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reported 151,966 hospital discharges for which tibia/fibula fracture diagnosis was a reason for a principal procedure in 2007 (Healthcare Cost and Use Project, AHRQ) [3]. A high proportion of Medicare patients – adults aged 65 or older – with tibia fractures undergo an acute inpatient stay (70%), post-acute inpatient stay (50%), and home health care (38%) as well as outpatient visits and physical and occupational therapy [4]; such estimates are missing for young and middle-age adults who also frequently get tibia fractures [5,6]. Tibia fractures are treated medically, and healthcare use depends on treatment options, which, in turn, vary by injury type and severity and the presence of complications [5,7]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Tibia shaft fractures (TSF) are common for men and women and cause substantial morbidity, healthcare use, and costs. The impact of nonunions on healthcare use and costs is poorly described. Our goal was to investigate patient characteristics and healthcare use and costs associated with TSF in patients with and without nonunion. Methods We retrospectively analyzed medical claims in large U.S. managed care claims databases (Thomson Reuters MarketScan®, 16 million lives). We studied patients ≥ 18 years old with a TSF diagnosis (ICD-9 codes: 823.20, 823.22, 823.30, 823.32) in 2006 with continuous pharmaceutical and medical benefit enrollment 1 year prior and 2 years post-fracture. Nonunion was defined by ICD-9 code 733.82 (after the TSF date). Results Among the 853 patients with TSF, 99 (12%) had nonunion. Patients with nonunion had more comorbidities (30 vs. 21, pre-fracture) and were more likely to have their TSF open (87% vs. 70%) than those without nonunion. Patients with nonunion were more likely to have additional fractures during the 2-year follow-up (of lower limb [88.9% vs. 69.5%, P < 0.001], spine or trunk [16.2% vs. 7.2%, P = 0.002], and skull [5.1% vs. 1.3%, P = 0.008]) than those without nonunion. Nonunion patients were more likely to use various types of surgical care, inpatient care (tibia and non-tibia related: 65% vs. 40%, P < 0.001) and outpatient physical therapy (tibia-related: 60% vs. 42%, P < 0.001) than those without nonunion. All categories of care (except emergency room costs) were more expensive in nonunion patients than in those without nonunion: median total care cost $25,556 vs. $11,686, P < 0.001. Nonunion patients were much more likely to be prescribed pain medications (99% vs. 92%, P = 0.009), especially strong opioids (90% vs. 76.4%, P = 0.002) and had longer length of opioid therapy (5.4 months vs. 2.8 months, P < 0.001) than patients without nonunion. Tibia fracture patterns in men differed from those in women. Conclusions Nonunions in TSF’s are associated with substantial healthcare resource use, common use of strong opioids, and high per-patient costs. Open fractures are associated with higher likelihood of nonunion than closed ones. Effective screening of nonunion risk may decrease this morbidity and subsequent healthcare resource use and costs.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
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    • "For older people, hip fractures are among the most severe consequences of falls [4,5]. Hip fractures cause considerable health care costs during the first post fracture year [6-8]. The cost burden will double or even triple with the subsequent fall and fracture particularly if a home-dwelling person is admitted to permanent institutional care because of the fracture [8,9]. "
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    ABSTRACT: To cope at their homes, community-dwelling older people surviving a hip fracture need a sufficient amount of functional ability and mobility. There is a lack of evidence on the best practices supporting recovery after hip fracture. The purpose of this article is to describe the design, intervention and demographic baseline results of a study investigating the effects of a rehabilitation program aiming to restore mobility and functional capacity among community-dwelling participants after hip fracture. Population-based sample of over 60-year-old community-dwelling men and women operated for hip fracture (n = 81, mean age 79 years, 78% were women) participated in this study and were randomly allocated into control (Standard Care) and ProMo intervention groups on average 10 weeks post fracture and 6 weeks after discharged to home. Standard Care included written home exercise program with 5-7 exercises for lower limbs. Of all participants, 12 got a referral to physiotherapy. After discharged to home, only 50% adhered to Standard Care. None of the participants were followed-up for Standard Care or mobility recovery. ProMo-intervention included Standard Care and a year-long program including evaluation/modification of environmental hazards, guidance for safe walking, pain management, progressive home exercise program and physical activity counseling. Measurements included a comprehensive battery of laboratory tests and self-report on mobility limitation, disability, physical functional capacity and health as well as assessments for the key prerequisites for mobility, disability and functional capacity. All assessments were performed blinded at the research laboratory. No significant differences were observed between intervention and control groups in any of the demographic variables. Ten weeks post hip fracture only half of the participants were compliant to Standard Care. No follow-up for Standard Care or mobility recovery occurred. There is a need for rehabilitation and follow-up for mobility recovery after hip fracture. However, the effectiveness of the ProMo program can only be assessed at the end of the study. Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN53680197.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
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