National Study of Rural-Urban Differences in Use of Home Oxygen for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease: Are Rural Medicare Beneficiaries Disadvantaged?

Research center:
Project funded:
September 2003
Project completed:
May 2010
Home oxygen has been clinically shown to be beneficial to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), who cannot otherwise maintain sufficient levels of oxygen in their body. To understand disparities in care among rural and urban Medicare beneficiaries, data from Medicare's Durable Medical Equipment (DME) files were used to assess rural/urban variation in the home use of supplemental oxygen. In addition, the relationships between age, race, income and other variables including elevation, on the use of supplemental oxygen were explored. A retrospective cohort study was performed, examining Medicare beneficiaries (5% random sample) who were admitted to the hospital with a primary diagnosis of COPD or emphysema in 1999. Rural status was determined by linking the beneficiary ZIP code to its Rural-Urban Commuting Area Code (RUCA).

A final report is published in the Journal of Rural Health, Volume 26, Issue 2, pages 139-145, Spring 2010.

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