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Report shows high rates of inappropriate antibiotic use continue, despite educational efforts to improve prescribing patterns

The Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation (CHRT) today released an issue brief showing continued high rates of inappropriate antibiotic use, despite a 15-year national outreach campaign by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to educate providers and consumers on the dangers of antibiotic overuse.

According to the CDC, antibiotic-resistant infections in the U.S. create $20 billion in excess healthcare costs and eight million additional hospital days. Antibiotics do not help or cure viral infections, such as bronchitis or the flu.

Read moreReport shows high rates of inappropriate antibiotic use continue, despite educational efforts to improve prescribing patterns

Physician practices chosen for med home study

CHRT’s efforts in shaping the grant proposal and helping to assemble a comprehensive statewide network of provider organizations and health plans are cited as crucial in this report on the factors leading to Michigan’s selection as one of eight states to participate in the CMS demonstration project on patient-centered medical homes. CHRT director Marianne Udow-Phillips also comments.

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CHRT report shows pre-term births are leading cause of health problems in infants and significant contributor to health care spending

The Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation (CHRT) based at the University of Michigan today released its Prematurity Issue Brief that shows pre-term births—births at less than 37 weeks of gestation—are the leading cause of health problems in infants and estimated to cost the U.S. more than $26 billion annually. In addition, the report shows that a black infant in Michigan is 70% more likely to be born prematurely than an infant of any other race.

“One in eight babies is born prematurely in the U.S. and Michigan with serious consequences for infant morbidity and mortality,” said Marianne Udow-Phillips, director of CHRT.

“Premature infants are at high risk for respiratory problems and mortality and, are among the most significant cost drivers in health care. Yet, risk factors for preterm birth are complex and not fully understood including why black infants are more likely to be born prematurely than infants of other races.”

Highlights of the Prematurity Issue Brief, a compilation of national and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) data, include:

  • Late preterm births in Michigan, those between 34 and 37 weeks of gestation, increased by 20% from 1996 – 2006 while premature births, those less than 34 weeks gestation, remained stable. While nearly all of the increase in late preterm births was Cesarean section (C-section), available data do not show if these C-sections were medically indicated or elective.
  • There is a significant disparity in the rate of premature births among blacks as compared to white, Asian and Hispanic populations. Black infants are 70 percent more likely to be born prematurely than white infants. Eleven percent of white and Hispanic infants and 9.9% of Asian infants are born prematurely, while almost 19 percent of black infants are born prematurely. This contributes to disparities in infant mortality rates within these groups. Theory suggests that black mothers experience more stress during pregnancy than mothers of other races, leading to more premature births.
  • Prematurity/low birth weight is the single largest cause of infant mortality in Michigan. Preterm infants born to black mothers are more likely to die in the perinatal period (after 22 weeks’ gestation or within 7 days of birth) than those born to white mothers.
  • Known risk factors for premature birth are history of preterm birth, being pregnant with multiple fetuses, use of in vitro fertilization even in singleton births, smoking, inadequate prenatal care, and being a relatively younger or older mother.
  • The average charge per discharge for premature birth and low birth weight babies in Michigan was $102,103, approximately 14 times higher than the average charge per discharge of $7,182 for a healthy infant birth.
  • Preterm births represent just 10.3% of BCBSM births in Michigan but comprise 52.6% of medical spending in the first year of life.

“Prematurity is recognized as the single most important area in maternal child health where we need research to improve outcomes,” said Timothy R. B. Johnson, M.D., professor and chair, Obstetrics & Gynecology Department, University of Michigan School of Medicine. “The fact that there are profound disparities in the U.S. and in Michigan in the incidence and outcomes of prematurity makes attention to this topic even more critical.”

The Prematurity Issue Brief is the fifth in a series examining the price of health care in Michigan. While the report identifies important trends, costs and disparities, more research is needed to begin to understand the causes of premature birth.

“We don’t know enough about the risk factors and causes of the rise in premature births. We can speculate about the impact of technology and fertility interventions but these births represent only a small percentage of total births. More study is needed so that we can improve outcomes, reduce disparities, and reduce the real and human cost of premature birth,” says Udow Phillips.

CHRT Report Shows Patterns of Health Practice Vary Across Michigan

A report released today by the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation (CHRT) on the use of health care services in Michigan shows a high degree of variation in the use of certain tests and procedures—including back surgery, Cesarean section, hysterectomy, and angioplasty—among different regions throughout the state. The “Thumb”/Saginaw area had among the highest use rates for all procedures studied. The use of medication for pediatric attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) also varied widely from region to region, with the Grosse Pointe, Grand Haven, and Kalamazoo areas having the highest reported rates in the study.

CHRTBook: Health Care Variation in Michigan compares the state’s Blue Cross commercially insured population to the Medicare population, and looks at changes within the commercial population in overall use and geographic variation over the past 10 years. It was modeled after the groundbreaking Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care study.

“Geographic variation has been well-documented nationally and was a significant topic of discussion during the debate on health reform,” said Marianne Udow Phillips, director, Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation. “Developing a better understanding of variation in the use of health care services could support state and national efforts to improve quality and contain costs in the health care system.”

The report depicts an improving picture in some key areas, showing notable reductions in overall use for some procedures often considered to be “over-utilized.” For example, while rates of coronary angiography and angioplasty procedures have increased nationally, they have decreased for Michigan’s Blue Cross commercial population. This improvement may be the result of a statewide cardiovascular quality collaborative, launched in 1996 by Blue Cross and hospitals throughout the state to improve safety and outcomes for patients undergoing angioplasty.

Read moreCHRT Report Shows Patterns of Health Practice Vary Across Michigan