Feb 6, 2008
CONTEXT: Small studies suggest that the quality of healthcare provided to older patients needs improvement. However, measuring the quality of care for larger groups of older adults is difficult. OBJECTIVE: To measure the quality of care in a community-dwelling vulnerable geriatric population using administrative data to apply quality indicators (QIs) from the Assessing Care of Vulnerable Elders project. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Cohort study of community-dwelling dual enrollees in Medicare and Medicaid, age 75 years and older, living in 19 California counties in 1999 and 2000. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Measurement of care provided for 43 QIs by condition (eg, heart failure) and by intervention type (eg, medication use), and identification of care inaccessible to measurement by linked Medicare and Medicaid claims. RESULTS: A total of 43 out of 230 QIs were captured using linked claims data. The 100,528 patients triggered 930,753 QIs (9.3 QIs/person). The overall QI pass rate (ie, successful receipt of care) was 65%. QIs with the highest pass rates measured avoidance of adverse medications and appropriate medication use. Fewer than half of the QIs were passed for ischemic heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. Few QIs aimed at geriatric care could be measured and none assessed counseling, history taking, or information continuity. CONCLUSIONS: The use of claims data-derived quality-of-care process measures is feasible for the vulnerable older population, but requires development of data elements focused on geriatric care. QIs that could be applied to the older patients included in this study identified several areas of care that need improvement.