NCQA Data Highlights Need for Improvement Among Elderly

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Report cards show us how we are doing—the good and the bad. Last week, the American Journal of Managed Care announced the release of a new progress report, issued by the Dartmouth Atlas Project that looks at how health care services are provided to adults 65 and older.


Based on 2012 Medicare Data, “Our Parents, Ourselves: Health Care for an Aging Population” maintains that the elderly often do not receive medical care supported by data—and that many are prescribed potentially harmful medications. Julie W. Bynum, MD, MPH, lead author of the report, and her research team reviewed 306 hospital referral regions to gauge the effectiveness of aging patients’ medical care. Their report mentions medications that, noted by NCQA, should be avoided by elderly patients because of adverse effects.

NCQA made the recommendation in its yearly State of Health Care Quality Report back in 2012. The report then showed significant progress in the percentage of aging Medicare beneficiaries who filled a prescription for high-risk medications. It dropped from 32.2% to 18.4%. But 2014 data told a different story and highlighted the need for improved medication management in the elderly.

The American Journal of Managed Care report just confirms what many have surmised long ago. Avoiding the use of high-risk drugs in the elderly is a simple—and effective—strategy to keep medication-related issues and their side-effects at bay.

Shireesha Jevaji
Shireesha Jevaji is the Senior Public Policy and Communications Specialist at NCQA and has been with the organization since 2012. She supports NCQA’s external communications for the consumer audience and public and private stakeholders. She also conducts data analysis for infographic and publication production and measures outreach impact. Shireesha is currently working towards her MPH in Public Health Communication and Marketing at the George Washington University.

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