Comparison of Data Quality for Reports and Ratings of Ambulatory Care by African American and White Medicare Managed Care Enrollees

Published in: Journal of Aging and Health, v. 18, no. 5, Oct. 1, 2006, p. 707-721

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2006

by Marie N. Fongwa, William Cunningham, Robert Weech-Maldonado, Peter R. Gutierrez, Ron D. Hays

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OBJECTIVE: Compare missing data and reliability of health care evaluations between African Americans and Whites in Medicare managed care health plans. METHOD: Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) 3.0 health plan survey data collected from 109,980 Medicare managed care enrollees (101,189 Whites, 8,791 African Americans) in 321 plans. Participants self-administered the survey and four single-item global ratings of care. RESULTS: Missing data rates were significantly higher for African Americans than Whites on all CAHPS items (p < .0001). Internal consistency reliability estimates for the CAHPS scales did not differ significantly between African Americans and Whites, but plan-level reliability estimates for the scales and global rating items were significantly lower for African Americans than Whites. DISCUSSION: Higher missing data rates and lower plan-level reliability estimates for African American Medicare managed care enrollees suggest caution in making race/ethnicity comparisons. Future efforts are needed to enhance the quality of data collected from older African Americans.

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