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New Study Details Complex Health Care Needs of Medicaid's Highest-Need, Highest-Cost Populations
Date:10/20/2009

HAMILTON, N.J., and OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Medicaid beneficiaries with disabilities frequently have multiple chronic conditions, and very high rates of psychiatric illness and cardiovascular disease, according to a study released today by the Center for Health Care Strategies. As national policymakers debate health reform, The Faces of Medicaid III: Refining the Portrait of People with Multiple Chronic Conditions provides insights for targeting efforts to improve care and control spending for Medicaid's highest-need, highest-cost beneficiaries. These insights are relevant and applicable to other populations and patients with multiple complex comorbidities. The study was funded through a grant from Kaiser Permanente.

Building on an earlier analysis that examined one year of national Medicaid diagnostic data, this new study adds two data sets -- pharmacy claims and five years of diagnostic data -- to further refine what is known about Medicaid beneficiaries with chronic needs. The study, conducted by Rick Kronick, Ph.D., and Todd Gilmer, Ph.D., both from the University of California, San Diego, sought to expand the knowledge base regarding the prevalence and patterns of chronic conditions among Medicaid beneficiaries.

"Analyzing prescription drug use in addition to diagnostic claims identifies considerably more beneficiaries with comorbidities, and notably, a significant increase in patients with behavioral health issues," said Dr. Kronick. "By expanding these insights into the population's complex needs, this work can help Medicaid stakeholders in designing tailored care management interventions for patients with multiple chronic conditions."

Compared to solely looking at diagnostic data, the addition of pharmacy data reveals higher rates of comorbidity among Medicaid beneficiaries with disabilities, including significantly higher prevalence of psychiatric illness and cardiovascular disease. Fol
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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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