The Right Prescription: Assessing Potentially Inappropriate Use of Antibiotics Among New York's Medicaid Population

Read the related press release.

Inappropriate use of antibiotics for viral acute respiratory infections (ARIs) contributes to the dangerous rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which cause more than two million infections and 23,000 deaths in the United States every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These infections, such as acute bronchitis or the common cold, are usually caused by viruses, which do not respond to antibiotics.

To accurately describe potentially inappropriate antibiotic prescribing in New York State's Medicaid program and aid targeted reduction efforts, this issue brief examines the percentage of adults' ARI episodes that were followed by an antibiotic prescription.

The analysis reviewed antibiotic prescriptions for Medicaid beneficiaries ages 18 to 64 who were diagnosed with ARIs between 2011 and 2015; it found wide variations in prescribing rates based on patient age, gender, race/ethnicity, county of residence, and individual insurance plans.

This issue brief was funded by the New York State Department of Health.