Study says EAMC among health care systems providing unnecessary care

Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association ranked East Alabama Medical Center in the top five in the country in overuse of necessary medical care.

The cross-sectional study included 676 U.S. health care systems. All participants were Medicare beneficiaries with claims from 2016 to 2018.

The median age of eligible beneficiaries was 75.5 years old and 76% were women, according to the study data.

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The study determined that higher amounts of overuse among health systems were associated with investor ownership and fewer primary care physicians.

“We reviewed this report, however, it would require a significant amount of time, resources and research to replicate the study’s overuse index and data methodologies to formulate a fully informed response. As we continue in our fifth peak of a now 22-month pandemic, these are not readily available resources,” said EAMC Public Relations Director John Atkinson. “Had the investigators provided individual hospitals with their 2016-2018 detailed data analyses, the information could have possibly been validated and proven valuable. For now, we will remain focused on our mission to provide high-quality, compassionate health care. Our organization participates in many statewide and national quality and patient safety initiatives and has won numerous awards in that arena. We continuously assess the care we provide to patients based on their individual needs to ensure the best possible outcomes. It should be noted that our profile on Medicare’s extensive Hospital Compare website indicates no abnormalities that would give patients any concern. Instead, our marks are favorable and very much in line with other quality-minded hospitals.”

One of the doctors involved in the study, Jodi Segal, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins University, said the study was never meant to be used to call out individual health systems.

“I encourage you to focus on the results — more primary care doctors, less overuse; being a teaching hospital reduces overuse, etc.,” Segal said. “Those are things health systems should explore.”