Facility-level variation in potentially inappropriate prescribing for older veterans

Walid F. Gellad, Chester B. Good, Megan E. Amuan, Zachary A. Marcum, Joseph T. Hanlon, Mary Jo V. Pugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objectives To describe facility-level variation in two measures of potentially inappropriate prescribing prevalent in Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities-exposure to high-risk medications in elderly adults (HRME) and drug-disease interactions (Rx-DIS)-and to identify facility characteristics associated with high-quality prescribing. Design Cross-sectional. Setting VA Healthcare System. Participants Veterans aged 65 and older with at least one inpatient or outpatient visit in 2005-2006 (N = 2,023,477; HRME exposure) and a subsample with a history of falls or hip fractures, dementia, or chronic renal failure (n = 305,059; Rx-DIS exposure). Measurements Incident use of any HRME (iHRME) and incident Rx-DIS (iRx-DIS) and facility-level rates and facility-level predictors of iHRME and iRx-DIS exposure, adjusting for differences in patient characteristics. Results Overall, 94,692 (4.7%) veterans had iHRME exposure. At the facility level, iHRME exposure ranged from 1.6% at the lowest facility to 12.8% at the highest (median 4.7%). In the subsample, 9,803 (3.2%) veterans had iRx-DIS exposure, with a facility-level range from 1.3% to 5.8% (median 3.2%). In adjusted analyses, veterans seen in facilities with formal geriatric education had lower odds of iHRME (odds ratio (OR) = 0.86, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.77-0.96) and iRx-DIS (OR = 0.95, 95% CI = 0.88-1.01). Patients seen in facilities caring for fewer older veterans had greater odds of iHRME (OR = 1.54, 95% CI = 1.35-1.75) and iRx-DIS exposure (OR = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.11-1.33). Conclusion Substantial variation in the quality of prescribing for older adults exists across VA facilities, even after adjusting for patient characteristics. Higher-quality prescribing is found in facilities caring for a larger number of older veterans and facilities with formal geriatric education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1222-1229
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • HEDIS measures
  • pharmacoepidemiology
  • potentially inappropriate prescribing
  • quality of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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