Physicians With Low-Income Patients Hampered in Quality Measures

Leigh Page -
A new study found physicians with low-income and uninsured patients have more trouble meeting commonly used quality measures due to patients' noncompliance, according to EurekAlert.

For example, physicians who recommend a colonoscopy for patients who do not undergo the test because they cannot afford it would be ranked lower even though they made the recommendation.

The study, in the Sept. 8 issues of the Journal of the American Medical Association, ranked primary care physicians on nine common quality measures, such as whether eligible patients received mammograms, Pap smears, colonoscopies and standard monitoring for those with diabetes or cardiovascular disease. It then studied their patient mix.

Physicians whose unadjusted quality rankings placed them in the top tier had patients who tended to be older men with many health problems and frequent visits to the doctor. Patients of bottom-tier physicians were more likely to be minority, non-English speaking, covered by Medicaid or uninsured and living in low-income neighborhoods.

Read the EurekAlert report on quality measures.

Read more coverage on physician quality measures:

- AMA Asks CMS to Postpone 2011 Medicare Fee Rule

- Physicians Frustrated by Medicare's Quality Reporting Initiative

- Most Practices Unhappy With Medicare's Physician Quality Reporting Initiative






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