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Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 24-39
Three-year post-transplant medicare payments in kidney transplant recipients: Associations with pre-transplant comorbidities

1 Center for Outcomes Research, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, USA
2 Department of Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
3 Department of Medicine, Washington University, Saint Louis, MO, USA

Correspondence Address:
Mark A Schniztler
Saint Louis University Center for Outcomes Research, 3545 Lafayette Avenue, Salus Center, 2nd Floor, Room 2825, St. Louis, MO 63104
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PMID: 21196610

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Little is known about the influence of pre-transplant comorbidities on post-transplant expenditures. We estimated the associations between pre-transplant comorbidities and post-transplant Medicare costs, using several comorbidity classification systems. We included recipients of first-kidney deceased donor transplants from 1995 through 2002 for whom Medicare was the primary payer for at least one year pre-transplant (N = 25,175). We examined pre-transplant comorbidities as classified by International Classification of Diseases (ICD-9-CM) codes from Medicare claims with the Clinical Cla­ssifications Software (CCS) and Charlson and Elixhauser algorithms. Post-transplant costs were calcu­lated from payments on Medicare claims. We developed models considering Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) variables plus: 1) CCS categories, 2) Charlson, 3) Elixhauser, 4) num­ber of Charlson and 5) number of Elixhauser comorbidities, independently. We applied a novel regression methodology to account for censoring. Costs were estimated at individual and population levels. The comorbidities with the largest impact on mean Medicare payments included cardiovascular disease, ma­lignancies, cerebrovascular disease, mental conditions and functional limitations. Skin ulcers and infec­tions, rheumatic and other connective tissue disease and liver disease also contributed to payments and have not been considered or described previously. A positive graded relationship was found between costs and the number of pre-transplant comorbidities. In conclusion, we showed that expansion beyond the usually considered pre-transplant comorbidities with inclusion of CCS and Charlson or Elixhauser comorbidities increased the knowledge about comorbidities related to augmented Medicare payments. Our expanded methodology can be used by others to assess more accurately the financial implications of renal transplantation to Medicare and individual transplant centers.

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