We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Article |

Costs vs Quality in Different Types of Primary Care Settings

Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH; Neil R. Powe, MD, MPH, MBA; Jonathan R. Weiner, DrPH; Mary Stuart, ScD; Donald Steinwachs, PhD; Sarah Hudson Scholle, DrPH; Andrea Gerstenberger, ScD
JAMA. 1994;272(24):1903-1908. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520240031037.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


Objective.  —To determine the relationship between efficiency in use of resources and quality of care provided by physicians serving as the usual source of care for patients in a state Medicaid program.

Design.  —Retrospective quality-of-care review of 2024 outpatient medical records of 135 providers sampled from system-wide Medicaid claims data in Maryland.

Subjects.  —Providers in three types of practice settings (hospital outpatient clinic, community health center, and physician's office) were stratified into three case mix—adjusted resource use groups (high, medium, and low). A sample of patients with the diagnoses of diabetes, hypertension, asthma, well-child care, or otitis media were identified from Medicaid claims forms from visits during 1988. Case mix was controlled by the application of the ambulatory care groups, a method that characterizes populations according to their burden of morbidity.

Main Outcome Measures.  —Nurses from the local peer review organization audited medical records using explicit criteria for quality of care in several categories: evidence of impaired access, evidence of compromised technical quality, evidence of inappropriate care, outcome of care, and several generic indicators of quality. Well-adult care was assessed for patients with the adult diagnoses.

Results.  —Although there were some systematic differences by type of facility in some aspects of quality of care (more access problems for patients in hospital clinics and more technical quality problems for patients in office-based practice), there were no consistent differences in quality of care overall for patients in different types of settings and no consistent relationships between cost-efficiency and quality of care. However, patients in medium-cost community health centers had the best or second best scores for most of the 21 comparisons of type of quality assessed.

Conclusions.  —Quality of care provided for common conditions in primary care is not associated with costs generated by providers. Policies directed toward the choice of low-cost vs high-cost providers will not necessarily lead to a deterioration in the quality of care. States can both improve quality and lower costs by consistent monitoring of programs over time. The finding of generally higher quality of care for patients in medium-cost community health centers deserves further study.(JAMA. 1994;272:1903-1908)


Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?




Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

0 Citations

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.