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Pharmacoeconomics. 2007;25(9):793-800.

Reliability of medicaid claims versus medical record data: in a cost analysis of palivizumab.

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School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7460, USA.



Palivizumab is one of the most costly paediatric medications for Medicaid and other health plans. It is uncertain whether the costs of palivizumab administration are justified in specific risk groups. Ongoing investigations of palivizumab require identification of reliable data sources.


To estimate the reliability between Medicaid paid claims data and medical records documentation in a cost analysis of palivizumab.


A cross-sectional study of data reliability was performed within a cost analysis study of palivizumab in a cohort of at-risk patients during the US 2002/3 respiratory syncytial virus season. Exposure classification (to palivizumab prophylaxis) was compared using Medicaid claims and medical records data.


The study was performed in 28 widely dispersed paediatric medical practices serving North Carolina, USA Medicaid patients within the AccessCare/Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) Program, an enhanced primary care case management programme. Patients were eligible if they were born between 1 March 2002 and 28 February 2003 at 32-35 weeks estimated gestational age, were enrolled in the North Carolina primary care case management Medicaid programme during the study period and were patients of the participating practices. Medicaid healthcare claims were obtained in December 2003 for services provided between October 2002 and May 2003. Medical records were abstracted by community-based case managers. Primary variables included frequency, dates and dose of palivizumab injections. The main outcomes measures were agreement in the number of palivizumab injections, dates of administration and doses of palivizumab between Medicaid paid claims and medical record data.


Injection frequencies matched between medical record and Medicaid claims data for only 46.2% of study participants. Congruence in injection service dates occurred between data sources for only 1% of injections. Doses were similar between data sources for 81.9% of injections.


In Medicaid recipients receiving palivizumab injection, Medicaid claims data were inconsistent with medical records data. Use of multiple data sources and validation are recommended to identify temporal relationships between drug administration and endpoints of interest.

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