The quality of health care after myocardial infarction (MI) may be lacking; in particular, guidelines for nonpharmacologic interventions (cardiac rehabilitation, smoking cessation) may receive insufficient priority. We identified gaps between secondary prevention guidelines and ambulatory care received by Medicaid enrollees after an MI.
MI survivors were selected by using 2004 Washington State Medicaid administrative claims. Deidentified data were abstracted for hospitalizations, ambulatory care, and prescriptions for 365 days after the MI. Cox regression analysis compared utilization of guideline-directed secondary prevention strategies with death and recurrent hospitalization.
The sample size was 372. Fifty patients died during the year after the MI, and 144 were rehospitalized. Only 2 patients attended a cardiac rehabilitation program. Tobacco cessation counseling was associated with a 66% reduction in death, but only 72.6% of smokers were counseled. Less than half (45.4%) of patients saw a primary care provider within 90 days of their MI, and 7.5% never contacted a health care provider. Receiving regular primary care was associated with a decreased risk for death (hazard ratio, 0.91; 95% confidence interval, 0.84-0.97, P < .01). A protective trend was associated with care by a cardiologist, but only 21.5% received specialist care.
Analysis of Medicaid claims data suggests rates of secondary prevention are less than optimal. To improve survival and reduce rehospitalization after an MI, policy changes (tobacco cessation benefits, expansion of rehabilitation programs), health care capacity (training, referral patterns, and coordination of care), and improvements to access (removing barriers, increasing facilities, targeting minority populations) could be implemented.