• Recent studies of patients with hip fractures from two hospitals have suggested that the marked reduction in length of stay that occurred following implementation of the Medicare prospective payment system (PPS) resulted in decreased quality of care for these patients. To assess whether this change influenced mortality, we studied patients with hip fractures aged 65 years or older from a 20% sample of Michigan Medicare enrollees. There were 2130 such patients in the 2 years preceding (October 1981 through September 1983) and 2238 in the 2 years following (October 1984 through September 1986) implementation of PPS. Although the demographic characteristics of patients with hip fractures did not change after PPS, the mean length of stay (95% confidence interval) decreased by 4.4 (4.1 to 4.7) days. However, mortality in the year following the fracture did not change: 23.2% before PPS, 23.7% after PPS; rate difference of 0.5% (−2.0 to 3.0). This finding was consistently present within subgroups defined by patient demographic characteristics. Furthermore, when the analysis was restricted to patients treated in those hospitals with the greatest reduction in average length of stay following PPS (7.5 days, or 35%), there was no significant change in 1-year mortality. For those patients who were enrolled in Medicaid and not in a nursing home at the time of the fracture, there was no increase in the rate of nursing home residence 1 year after the fracture. Thus, the findings of this population-based study suggest that the key outcomes of postfracture mortality and nursing home residence were not affected by the implementation of PPS.
(Arch Intern Med. 1990;150:2109-2114)