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VOLUME 54 | NUMBER 1.2 | FEBRUARY 2019


Measuring hospitalspecific disparities by dual eligibility and race to reduce health inequities

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Objective: To propose and evaluate a metric for quantifying hospitalspecific disparities in health outcomes that can be used by patients and hospitals.

Data Sources/Study Setting: Inpatient admissions for Medicare patients with acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, or pneumonia to all nonfederal, shortterm, acute care hospitals during 20122015.

Study Design: Building on the current Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services methodology for calculating riskstandardized readmission rates, we developed models that include a hospitalspecific random coefficient for either patient dual eligibility status or African American race. These coefficients quantify the difference in riskstandardized outcomes by dual eligibility and race at a given hospital after accounting for the hospital's patient case mix and proportion of dual eligible or African American patients. We demonstrate this approach and report variation and performance in hospitalspecific disparities.

Principal Findings: Dual eligibility and African American race were associated with higher readmission rates within hospitals for all three conditions. However, this disparity effect varied substantially across hospitals.

Conclusion: Our models isolate a hospitalspecific disparity effect and demonstrate variation in quality of care for different groups of patients across conditions and hospitals. Illuminating withinhospital disparities can incentivize hospitals to reduce inequities in health care quality.

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