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Aneja S.,Yale University | Ross J.S.,Yale University | Wang Y.,Yale University | Matsumoto M.,Hiroshima University | And 4 more authors.
Health Affairs

A sufficient cardiology workforce is necessary to ensure access to cardiovascular care. Specifically, access to cardiologists is important in the management and treatment of chronic cardiovascular disease. Given this, we examined the supply and distribution of the cardiologist workforce. In doing so, we mapped the ratios of cardiologists, primary care physicians, and total physicians to the population age sixty-five or older within different Hospital Referral Regions from the years 1995 and 2007.We found that within the twelve-year span of our study, the cardiology workforce grew modestly compared with the primary care physician and total physician workforces. Also, despite increases in the number of cardiologists, there was a persistent geographic maldistribution of the workforce. For example, approximately 60 percent of the elderly population had access to only 38 percent of the cardiologists. Our results suggest that large segments of the US population, specifically in rural and socioeconomically disadvantaged areas, continue to have a lower concentration of cardiologists. This maldistribution could be addressed through a variety of strategies, including the use of telemedicine and economic incentives. Source

Bernheim S.M.,Yale University | Bernheim S.M.,Yale Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation | Wang Y.,Yale University | Wang Y.,Yale Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation | And 8 more authors.
American Heart Journal

Background: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services provides public reporting on the quality of hospital care for patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Core Measures allow discretion in excluding patients because of relative contraindications to aspirin, β-blockers, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. We describe trends in the proportion of patients with AMI with contraindications that could lead to discretionary exclusion from public reporting. Methods: We completed cross-sectional analyses of 3 nationally representative data cohorts of AMI admissions among Medicare patients in 1994-1995 (n = 170,928), 1998-1999 (n = 27,432), and 2000-2001 (n = 27,300) from the national Medicare quality improvement projects. Patients were categorized as ineligible (eg, transfer patients), automatically excluded (specified absolute medical contraindications), discretionarily excluded (potentially excluded based on relative contraindications), or "ideal" for treatment for each measure. Results: For 4 of 5 measures, the percentage of discretionarily excluded patients increased over the 3 periods (admission aspirin 15.8% to 16.9%, admission β-blocker 14.3% to 18.3%, discharge aspirin 10.3% to 12.3%, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors 2.8% to 3.9%; P < .001). Of patients potentially included in measures (those who were not ineligible or automatically excluded), the discretionarily excluded represented 25.5% to 69.2% in 2000-2001. Treatment rates among patients with discretionary exclusions also increased for 4 of 5 measures (all except angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors). Conclusions: A sizeable and growing proportion of patients with AMI have relative contraindications to treatments that may result in discretionary exclusion from publicly reported quality measures. These patients represent a large population for which there is insufficient evidence as to whether measure exclusion or inclusion and treatment represents best care. © 2010 Mosby, Inc. Source

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