Objectives: To assess the association of geriatric syndrome risk factors with postacute utilization among hospitalized Medicare patients (both Medicare Advantage [MA] and fee-for-service [FFS] cohorts) and to examine patterns of postacute care for MA and FFS cohorts with high geriatric syndrome risk.
Study design: Secondary data analysis using encounter-level data from the State Inpatient Databases (SID) of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project.
Methods: The sample included 3.1 million Medicare hospitalizations from the Florida SID (2010 to 2014). We used multivariate linear regression to examine the impact of a geriatric syndrome risk measure, assessed as high risk, moderate risk, or nonrisk, on outcomes in MA and FFS cohorts. Outcome measures included postacute destination and inpatient utilization. We then examined if this risk measure was associated with differences in outcomes between MA and FFS cohorts.
Results: Patients with high geriatric syndrome risk (in both MA and FFS cohorts) are less likely to be discharged to home or to home health care. They also have longer inpatient lengths of stay and higher inpatient costs. This risk measure also explains differences in postacute skilled nursing destination between MA and FFS cohorts.
Conclusions: Geriatric syndrome risk factors not only play a role in postacute care and inpatient utilization in MA and FFS cohorts but also explain different utilizations between MA and FFS cohorts. This study's results can be applied to guide discharge planning among a group of high-risk patients and evaluate alternative delivery models for this high-cost, high-need cohort.