Linkage of Laboratory Results to Medicare Fee-for-Service Claims

Medical Care
September 2015
Hammill, B.G., Curtis, L.H., Qualls, L.G., Hastings, S.N., Wang, V., and Maciejewski, M.L.

Medicare is the single largest purchaser of laboratory testing in the United States, yet test results associated with Medicare laboratory claims have historically not been available. In order to describe both the linkage of laboratory results data to Medicare claims and the completeness of these results data, the researchers obtained information about laboratory orders and results for all Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries in 10 eastern states in 2011. Nearly all patients in the laboratory data were able to be linked to Medicare beneficiaries. The researchers found over 2 million distinct beneficiaries with nearly 125 million specific test results in the laboratory data. The linkage of laboratory results data to Medicare claims creates unprecedented opportunities for conducting comparative effectiveness research related to patient safety and quality.

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