United Hospital Fund Releases Report Finding Wide Variation in Unnecessary Antibiotic Prescribing for NYS Medicaid Patients
An analysis of potentially inappropriate antibiotic prescribing patterns among New York State’s Medicaid population, released today by United Hospital Fund’s Medicaid Institute, found wide variations in prescribing rates based on patient age, gender, race/ethnicity, county of residence, and individual insurance plans.
The report, The Right Prescription: Assessing Potentially Inappropriate Use of Antibiotics Among New York’s Medicaid Population, funded by the New York State Department of Health, reviewed antibiotic prescriptions for Medicaid beneficiaries ages 18 to 64 who were diagnosed with acute respiratory infections (ARIs) between 2011 and 2015. These infections, such as acute bronchitis or the common cold, are usually caused by viruses, which do not respond to antibiotics. The inappropriate use of antibiotics for viral ARIs contributes to the dangerous rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which cause more than two million infections and 23,000 deaths in the United States every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report shows that antibiotic prescribing rates among various segments of the Medicaid population were notably different. For example, white women living outside of New York City received antibiotic prescriptions for 66.4 percent of ARI episodes, compared with prescribing for 49.7 percent of episodes in white men living in New York City. There were also wide variations between Medicaid managed care plans, with members in the plan with the highest prescription rate receiving antibiotics nearly twice as often as in the plan with the lowest rates (75.4 percent versus 43.4 percent)...