Geographic differences in use of home oxygen for obstructive lung disease: a national Medicare study

  • Abstract


    Home oxygen is the most expensive equipment item that Medicare purchases ($1.7 billion/year).


    To assess geographic differences in supplemental oxygen use.


    Retrospective cohort analysis of oxygen claims for a 20% random sample of Medicare patients hospitalized for obstructive lungdisease in 1999 and alive at the end of 2000.


    While 33.7% of the 34,916 hospitalized patients used supplemental oxygen, there was more than a 4-fold difference between states and a greater than 6-fold difference between hospital referral regions with high/low utilization. Rocky Mountain States and Alaska had the highest utilization, while the District of Columbia and Louisiana had the lowest utilization. After adjusting for patient characteristics and elevation, high-utilization communities included low-lying areas in California, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington. Patients who were younger, male, white, and who had more comorbidities, more hospital admissions, and lived at higher altitudes and in areas of greater income also had higher odds of using supplemental oxygen. Residing in rural areas was associated with higher unadjusted oxygen use rates. After adjustment, patients living in large rural areas had higher odds of using oxygen than patients living in urban areas or in small rural areas.


    There is significant geographic variation in supplemental oxygen use, even after controlling for patient and contextual factors. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should examine these issues further and enact changes that ensure patient health and fiscal responsibility.

  • Authors:

    Chan L, Giardino N, Rubenfeld G, Baldwin LM, Fordyce MA, Hart LG

  • Journal/Publisher:

    J Rural Health

  • Edition:

    Mar 2010. 26(2):139-145

  • Link to Article

    Access the article here: J Rural Health

  • Citation:

    Chan L, Giardino N, Rubenfeld G, Baldwin LM, Fordyce MA, Hart LG. Geographic Differences In Use Of Home Oxygen For Obstructive Lung Disease: A National Medicare Study. J Rural Health. Mar 2010 26(2):139-145

  • Related Studies:

    National Study of Rural/Urban Differences in Use of Home Oxygen for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease: Are Rural Medicare Beneficiaries Disadvantaged?