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1.  Quality Improvement Implementation in the Nursing Home 
Health Services Research  2003;38(1 Pt 1):65-83.
To examine quality improvement (QI) implementation in nursing homes, its association with organizational culture, and its effects on pressure ulcer care.
Data Sources/Study Settings
Primary data were collected from staff at 35 nursing homes maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on measures related to QI implementation and organizational culture. These data were combined with information obtained from abstractions of medical records and analyses of an existing database.
Study Design
A cross-sectional analysis of the association among the different measures was performed.
Data Collection/Extraction Methods
Completed surveys containing information on QI implementation, organizational culture, employee satisfaction, and perceived adoption of guidelines were obtained from 1,065 nursing home staff. Adherence to best practices related to pressure ulcer prevention was abstracted from medical records. Risk-adjusted rates of pressure ulcer development were calculated from an administrative database.
Principal Findings
Nursing homes differed significantly (p<.001) in their extent of QI implementation with scores on this 1 to 5 scale ranging from 2.98 to 4.08. Quality improvement implementation was greater in those nursing homes with an organizational culture that emphasizes innovation and teamwork. Employees of nursing homes with a greater degree of QI implementation were more satisfied with their jobs (a 1-point increase in QI score was associated with a 0.83 increase on the 5-point satisfaction scale, p<.001) and were more likely to report adoption of pressure ulcer clinical guidelines (a 1-point increase in QI score was associated with a 28 percent increase in number of staff reporting adoption, p<.001). No significant association was found, though, between QI implementation and either adherence to guideline recommendations as abstracted from records or the rate of pressure ulcer development.
Quality improvement implementation is most likely to be successful in those VA nursing homes with an underlying culture that promotes innovation. While QI implementation may result in staff who are more satisfied with their jobs and who believe they are providing better care, associations with improved care are uncertain.
PMCID: PMC1360874  PMID: 12650381
Quality improvement; quality of care; nursing homes; decubitus ulcers
2.  Diagnostics Cost Groups and Concurrent Utilization among Patients 
Health Services Research  2002;37(4):1079-1103.
To assess the performance of Diagnostic Cost Groups (DCGs) in explaining variation in concurrent utilization for a defined subgroup, patients with substance abuse (SA) disorders, within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Data Sources
A 60 percent random sample of veterans who used health care services during Fiscal Year (FY) 1997 was obtained from VA administrative databases. Patients with SA disorders (13.3 percent) were identified from primary and secondary ICD-9-CM diagnosis codes.
Study Design
Concurrent risk adjustment models were fitted and tested using the DCG/HCC model. Three outcome measures were defined: (1) “service days” (the sum of a patient's inpatient and outpatient visit days), (2) mental health/substance abuse (MH/SA) service days, and (3) ambulatory provider encounters. To improve model performance, we ran three DCG/HCC models with additional indicators for patients with SA disorders.
Data Collection
To create a single file of veterans who used health care services in FY 1997, we merged records from all VA inpatient and outpatient files.
Principal Findings
Adding indicators for patients with mild/moderate SA disorders did not appreciably improve the R-squares for any of the outcome measures. When indicators were added for patients with severe SA who were in the most costly category, the explanatory ability of the models was modestly improved for all three outcomes.
Modifying the DCG/HCC model with additional markers for SA modestly improved homogeneity and model prediction. Because considerable variation still remained after modeling, we conclude that health care systems should evaluate “off-the-shelf” risk adjustment systems before applying them to their own populations.
PMCID: PMC1464011  PMID: 12236385
Risk adjustment; case-mix; substance abuse; capitation payments

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