The Effect of Sentinel Injury on Medicare Expenditures over Time
Article first published online: 10 MAR 2011
© 2011, Copyright the Authors. Journal compilation © 2011, The American Geriatrics Society
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume 59, Issue 3, pages 406–416, March 2011
How to Cite
Carter, M. W. and Porell, F. W. (2011), The Effect of Sentinel Injury on Medicare Expenditures over Time. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 59: 406–416. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.03283.x
- Issue published online: 10 MAR 2011
- Article first published online: 10 MAR 2011
- older adults;
- sentinel injury;
- Medicare costs
OBJECTIVES: To examine the long-term effect of sentinel injury (unintentional injury involving serious health-related consequences) among older adults on Medicare expenditures.
DESIGN: Secondary data analysis of the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey, a nationally representative survey of Medicare Beneficiaries.
SETTING: Noninstitutionalized community dwellers.
PARTICIPANTS: Older adults (N=12,318) continuously enrolled in Medicare Fee-for-Service under Old Age Survivors Insurance Benefits surveyed between October 1998 and December 2004.
MEASUREMENTS: Monthly total Medicare expenditures served as the dependent variable. Injury status (preinjury, injury episode, postinjury) was identified from Medicare claims and specified as a set of dummy variables. Injury episodes began with the first index injury claim identified and ended when no further injury claims were found within 180 days. Population-averaged models using generalized estimating equation techniques were estimated to explore changes in Medicare expenditures over time after adjusting for casemix differences. A case–crossover design was used to compare monthly Medicare expenditures before and after sentinel injury events.
RESULTS: Fifteen percent of beneficiaries sustained at least one sentinel injury. Medicare expenditures increased sharply during sentinel injury episodes (=1.703, P<.001) and remained at least 28% higher than would otherwise be expected for 27 uninterrupted months following injury. Additive Medicare expenditures associated with sentinel injury over 3 years were estimated at $28,885.
CONCLUSION: Consequences of sentinel injury in older adults extend well beyond the period typically considered to be an acute injury episode. Better understanding of the long-term consequences of injury-related outcomes is needed to achieve public health goals of reducing injury and improving injury-related medical care.