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Method of linking Medicaid records to birth certificates may affect infant outcome statistics.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: This study assessed how different methods of matching Medicaid records to birth certificates affect Medicaid infant outcome statistics. METHODS: Claims paid by Medicaid for hospitalization of the newborn and for the mother's delivery were matched separately to 1995 North Carolina live birth certificates. RESULTS: Infant mortality and low-birthweight rates were consistently lower when Medicaid was defined by a matching newborn hospitalization record than when results were based on a matching Medicaid delivery record. CONCLUSIONS: Studies of birth outcomes in the Medicaid population may have variable results depending on the method of matching that is used to identify Medicaid births.

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