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Am J Public Health. 1992 Dec;82(12):1626-30.

HMO vs fee-for-service care of older persons with acute myocardial infarction.

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  • 1RAND Health Program, Santa Monica, Calif. 90407-2138.



Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) continue to grow in number and in their enrollment of Medicare recipients. They are also increasingly viewed as organizational structures that might contribute to control of health care costs. Yet little is known about the quality of care that elderly HMO enrollees receive.


We compared patients from three HMOs to a fee-for-service (FFS) sample that was national in scope. Sickness at admission, the quality of process of care, and mortality were assessed for patients aged 65 years and older who had been hospitalized with a diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction.


After adjustment for sickness at admission, there were no significant mortality differences between the HMO and FFS groups at either 30 (23.2% vs 23.5%) or 180 days (34.4% vs 34.5%) after admission. Compliance with process criteria was higher for the HMO group as a whole (P < .05). The HMOs had greater compliance with three of five scales measuring different aspects of care for patients with acute myocardial infarction.


We conclude that older patients from our participating HMOs who were hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction received hospital care that was generally better in terms of process than that received by patients in a national FFS sample.

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