Disparities in preventive procedures: Comparisons of self-report and Medicare claims data

Kevin Fiscella, Kathleen Holt, Sean Meldrum, Peter Franks

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77 Scopus citations


Background: Racial/ethnic disparities are assessed using either self-report or claims data. We compared these two data sources and examined contributors to discrepancies in estimates of disparities. Methods: We analyzed self-report and matching claims data from Medicare Beneficiaries 65 and older who participated in the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey, 1999-2002. Six preventive procedures were included: PSA testing, influenza vaccination, Pap smear testing, cholesterol testing, mammography, and colorectal cancer testing. We examined predictors of self-reports in the absence of claims and claims in the absence of self-reports. Results: With the exception of PSA testing, racial/ethnic disparities in preventive procedures are generally larger when using Medicare claims than when using patients' self-report. Analyses adjusting for age, gender, income, educational level, health status, proxy response and supplemental insurance showed that minorities were more likely to self-report preventive procedures in the absence of claims. Adjusted odds ratios ranged from 1.07 (95% CI: 0.88 - 1.30) for PSA testing to 1.83 (95% CI: 1.46 - 2.30) for Pap smear testing. Rates of claims in the absence of self-report were low. Minorities were more likely to have PSA test claims in the absence of self-reports (1.55 95% CI: 1.17 - 2.06), but were less likely to have influenza vaccination claims in the absence of selfreports (0.69 95% CI: 0.51 - 0.93). Conclusion: These findings are consistent with either racial/ethnic reporting biases in receipt of preventive procedures or less efficient Medicare billing among providers with large minority practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number122
JournalBMC Health Services Research
StatePublished - Sep 29 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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