Do Medicare patients with disabilities receive preventive services? A population-based study

Leighton Chan, Jason N. Doctor, Richard F. MacLehose, Herschel Lawson, Roger A. Rosenblatt, Laura Mae Baldwin, Amitabh Jha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

145 Scopus citations


Objective: To compare health maintenance procedure rates of Medicare patients with different levels of disability. Study Design: Observational study analyzing data from the 1995 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS, n = 15,590). Self-reported Pap smears, mammograms, and influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations were compared between groups with different levels of health-related difficulties in six activities of daily living (ADL). Results: Compared to those without disabilities, the most severely disabled women (limitations in 5 or 6 ADL) reported fewer Pap smears (age ≤70, 23% vs 41%, p < .001) and mammograms (age ≥ 50, 13% vs 44%, p < .001). In a controlled analysis, individuals with this high level of disability were 57% (95% confidence interval [CI], 33% to 72%) and 56% (95% CI, 43% to 76%) less likely to report receiving Pap smears and mammograms, respectively, compared with able-bodied women, regardless of their age, whether they were in an HMO, or whether they lived in a long-term care facility. Functional limitations were not a deterrent to receiving vaccinations. In general, patients in HMOs reported more procedures than those in fee-for-service, while those in long- term care facilities reported fewer procedures than those living in the community. Conclusions: Disability among Medicare patients is a significant, independent risk factor for not receiving mammograms and Pap smears. Efforts should be made to identify the most severely disabled because they are at particular risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)642-646
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1999

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