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VOLUME 53 | NUMBER 3 | JUNE 2018


Does Identification of Previously Undiagnosed Conditions Change CareSeeking Behavior?

Objective: To determine whether identification of previously undiagnosed high cholesterol, hypertension, and/or diabetes during an inhome assessment impacts care seeking among Medicare beneficiaries.

Data Sources/Study Setting: Data from the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study, which recruited African American and white participants across the continental United States from 2003–2007, were linked to Medicare claims.

Study Design: We used panel data models to analyze changes in doctor visits for evaluation and management of conditions after participants were assessed, utilizing the study's rolling recruitment to control for secular trends.

Data Extraction Methods: We extracted Medicare claims for the 24 months before through 24 months after assessment via REGARDS for 5,884 participants.

Principal Findings: Semiannual doctor visits for previously undiagnosed conditions increased by 22 percentage points (95 percent confidence interval: 16–28) 2 years following assessment. The effect was similar by gender, race, region, and Medicaid, but it may have been lower among participants who lacked a usual health care provider.

Conclusions: Inhome assessment of cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose can increase doctor visits for individuals with previously undiagnosed conditions. However, biomarker assessment may have more limited impact among individuals with low access to care.

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