One-fifth of Medicare patients sustain adverse medical events

One-fifth of medicare patients sustain adverse medical events

(HealthDay)—Adverse medical events (AMEs) are associated with excess mortality and increased costs among Medicare beneficiaries, according to research published online May 28 in Injury Prevention.

Mary W. Carter, Ph.D., of Towson University in Maryland, and colleagues analyzed survey and claims data from ambulatory and hospital settings between 1998 and 2005 for 12,541 Medicare beneficiaries. The authors sought to examine the risk and long-term effect of medically serious AMEs.

The researchers found that almost 19 percent of participants had at least one AME. A majority of these AMEs were identified from outpatient claims (62 percent). The risk of AMEs was greater among individuals with poorer health and increased with comorbidity and impairment in performing activities of daily living (ADLs) or instrumental ADLs. AMEs were associated with increased Medicare expenditures. Among those who experienced an AME, only 55 percent survived until the end of the study.

"The impacts of AMEs are observable over extended periods of time and are associated with considerable and costs," the authors write. "Efforts to monitor and prevent AMEs in both acute care and outpatient settings are warranted."

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