Identification of hospital-acquired catheter-associated urinary tract infections from Medicare claims: sensitivity and positive predictive value

Med Care. 2009 Mar;47(3):364-9. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0b013e31818af83d.


Background and objective: Hospital-acquired catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) is one of the first 6 conditions Medicare is targeting to reduce payment associated with hospital-acquired conditions under Congressional mandate. This study was to determine the positive predictive value (PPV) and sensitivity in identifying patients in Medicare claims who had urinary catheterization and who had hospital-acquired CAUTIs.

Research design: CAUTIs identified by ICD-9-CM codes in Medicare claims were compared with those revealed by medical record abstraction in random samples of Medicare discharges in 2005 to 2006. Hospital discharge abstracts (2005) from the states of New York and California were used to estimate the potential impact of a present-on-admission (POA) indicator on PPV.

Results: ICD-9-CM procedure codes for urinary catheterization appeared in only 1.4% of Medicare claims for patients who had urinary catheters. As a proxy, claims with major surgery had a PPV of 75% and sensitivity of 48%, and claims with any surgical procedure had a PPV of 53% and sensitivity of 79% in identifying urinary catheterization. The PPV and sensitivity for identifying hospital-acquired CAUTIs varied, with the PPV at 30% and sensitivity at 65% in claims with major surgery. About 80% of the secondary diagnosis codes indicating UTIs were flagged as POA, suggesting that the addition of POA indicators in Medicare claims would increase PPV up to 86% and sensitivity up to 79% in identifying hospital-acquired CAUTIs.

Conclusions: The validity in identifying urinary catheter use and CAUTIs from Medicare claims is limited, but will be increased substantially upon addition of a POA indicator.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms
  • California / epidemiology
  • Catheter-Related Infections / diagnosis*
  • Catheter-Related Infections / economics
  • Catheter-Related Infections / epidemiology
  • Catheters, Indwelling / microbiology
  • Catheters, Indwelling / statistics & numerical data
  • Current Procedural Terminology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insurance Claim Reporting*
  • International Classification of Diseases*
  • Male
  • Medical Audit / methods*
  • Medical Records / classification
  • Medicare / statistics & numerical data*
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Patient Discharge
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Urinary Catheterization / adverse effects
  • Urinary Catheterization / statistics & numerical data
  • Urinary Tract Infections / diagnosis*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / economics
  • Urinary Tract Infections / epidemiology