Defining hip fracture with claims data: outpatient and provider claims matter
Medicare claims are commonly used to identify hip fractures, but there is no universally accepted definition. We found that a definition using inpatient claims identified fewer fractures than a definition including outpatient and provider claims. Few additional fractures were identified by including inconsistent diagnostic and procedural codes at contiguous sites.
Medicare claims data is commonly used in research studies to identify hip fractures, but there is no universally accepted definition of fracture. Our purpose was to describe potential misclassification when hip fractures are defined using Medicare Part A (inpatient) claims without considering Part B (outpatient and provider) claims and when inconsistent diagnostic and procedural codes occur at contiguous fracture sites (e.g., femoral shaft or pelvic).
Participants included all long-stay nursing home residents enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B fee-for-service between 1/1/2008 and 12/31/2009 with follow-up through 12/31/2011. We compared the number of hip fractures identified using only Part A claims to (1) Part A plus Part B claims and (2) Part A and Part B claims plus discordant codes at contiguous fracture sites.
Among 1,257,279 long-stay residents, 40,932 (3.2%) met the definition of hip fracture using Part A claims, and 41,687 residents (3.3%) met the definition using Part B claims. 4566 hip fractures identified using Part B claims would not have been captured using Part A claims. An additional 227 hip fractures were identified after considering contiguous fracture sites.
When ascertaining hip fractures, a definition using outpatient and provider claims identified 11% more fractures than a definition with only inpatient claims. Future studies should publish their definition of fracture and specify if diagnostic codes from contiguous fracture sites were used.
KeywordsContiguous site Hip fracture Medicare claims Misclassification
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