Associations of patient demographic characteristics and regional physician density with early physician follow-up among medicare beneficiaries hospitalized with heart failure.
Early physician follow-up after a heart failure (HF) hospitalization is associated with lower risk of readmission. However, factors associated with early physician follow-up are not well understood. We identified 30,136 patients with HF ≥65 years at 225 hospitals participating in the Organized Program to Initiate Lifesaving Treatment in Hospitalized Patients With Heart Failure (OPTIMIZE) registry or the Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure (GWTG-HF) registry from January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2006. We linked these clinical data to Medicare claims data for longitudinal follow-up. Using logistic regression models with site-level random effects, we identified predictors of physician follow-up within 7 days of hospital discharge. Overall 11,420 patients (37.9%) had early physician follow-up. Patients residing in hospital referral regions with higher physician concentration were significantly more likely to have early follow-up (odds ratio 1.29, 95% confidence interval 1.12 to 1.48, for highest vs lowest quartile). Patients in rural areas (0.84, 0.78 to 0.91) and patients with lower socioeconomic status (0.79, 0.74 to 0.85) were less likely to have early follow-up. Women (0.87, 0.83 to 0.91) and black patients (0.84, 0.77 to 0.92) were less likely to receive early follow-up. Patients with greater co-morbidity were less likely to receive early follow-up. In conclusion, physician follow-up within 7 days after discharge from a HF hospitalization varied according to regional physician density, rural location, socioeconomic status, gender, race, and co-morbid conditions. Strategies are needed to ensure access among vulnerable populations to this supply-sensitive resource.
Kociol, RD; Greiner, MA; Fonarow, GC; Hammill, BG; Heidenreich, PA; Yancy, CW; Peterson, ED; Curtis, LH; Hernandez, AF
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