Left ventricular ejection fraction test rates for Medicare beneficiaries with heart failure.
The left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) test rate is increasingly used as a quality of care indicator for patients with heart failure. Our study produced benchmark LVEF test rates in a Medicare fee-for-service population for consideration by a clinical panel assembled by the Health Care Financing Administration. Our sample consisted of 46,583 beneficiaries admitted to the hospital for heart failure and with a complete set of Medicare fee-for-service bills dated 1996 or 1997. The national 2-year LVEF test rate was 79% for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries hospitalized for heart failure. Except for 1 state, the test rate ranged from 61% to 89% across states. Our analysis demonstrates the feasibility of using billing data to compute LVEF test rates. Using a 2-year time window and measuring tests performed in outpatient as well as inpatient settings, we find a higher LVEF test rate than has been reported by most previous studies.
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