Wrapping Things Up

My seven week fellowship concluded last Friday. As I have discussed previously, I spent the last week examining  racial differences in cardiac procedure utilization. My initial analysis involved running t-tests on black and white utilization rates for the years 1997, 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2008. I found that there were significant differences in the rates, although the the magnitude of the difference was relatively small and has been closing in recent years.

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Independent Project Part II

I’ve made a good bit of progress this past week on my independent project part of my fellowship. I have been examining the relationship between race and rates of utilization for various cardiac care procedures. Many papers have discussed the finding that heart attack patients who are black undergo a number of heart procedures at a lower rate than those who are white. Much of the literature on this topic is 5, 10, or 15 years old. As such, I thought it would be interesting to see if anything has changed in recent years. I have access to some data which allows me to look at the years 1997-2008, so I can see if trends have changed over time.

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Switching Gears

After spending the majority of my fellowship assisting my advisors, I am spending the final week working on an independent project. I am examining the  racial differences in utilization of several “high technology” procedures used in treating heart attacks. Studies have shown in the past that minority races tend to have lower  usage rates for these procedures.  I am examining the use of cardiac catheterization, PTCA, and CABG procedures. My goals are to identify if this utilization gap amongst different races is still a problem today, and if so, identify some potential reasons.

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Getting to Know STATA

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been learning to program in STATA, a program used to assist statistical analysis. My advisors have been working on a project that requires them to know the charges for individual surgical procedures , specific to an individual hospital. For some hospitals however, there are no records for an individual procedure’s cost. Instead, there are entries that have the combined cost for two procedures, one being the procedure of interest. Hence, the data must be manipulated to get the desired results. In the simplest example, the information we wish to find is the charge of procedure x at hospital A. In the data, we find the charges for procedure x  and procedure y combined. In order to find the charge for procedure x by itself, we can look to see if there is an entry that just contains the charges for procedure y. We could then subtract this value from the x and y combined charges to get our procedure of interest. In order to do this, it is easiest to write some code up in stata that goes through this process.

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Wage Index and Coinsurance

Hey everyone, I’ve been assisting in the research of Professor He and Professor Mellor for the past two weeks.  Part of my task has been to compile a database of Florida hospitals that includes formulas for calculating coinsurance amounts for  various procedures performed on Medicare patients. For those unfamiliar, coinsurance refers to to the amount of money a patient pays out of pocket for a given procedure. A procedure will cost ‘x’ dollars, and the coinsurance amount that is paid is Cost of procedure-amount paid by insurance plan. In this case, the insurance plan is Medicare.

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