Diabetes patients undergoing team-based care do not save more in treatment costs under Medicare and Medicaid than other patients, but they are healthier, according to a recent study.
"Chronic conditions impose a substantial financial burden on patients, payers and employers," said Dennis Scanlon, professor of health policy and administration, Penn State, and lead author of the study. "Assessing the financial impact of chronic care management strategies remains a key health policy issue."
The researchers compared Medicaid patients with diabetes who received team-based care with those who did not. The aim of the study was to determine whether multidisciplinary team-based care reduces medical payments and improves quality for the Medicaid enrollees.
"Individuals with chronic conditions account for disproportionately high health cost and often experience losses in productivity," notes Scanlon. "But on average these patients receive only 56 percent of recommended care according to recent studies."
The Penn State researchers analyzed data between 1997 and 2005 from Medicaid and Medicare claims and payments one year before and after intervention for patients at CareSouth, a federally qualified community health center serving 10 clinics in and around Hartsville, South Carolina.
"Our analysis suggests that patients enrolled in the CareSouth program did not experience significantly lower total Medicare and Medicaid costs than similar patients who did not receive team-based care," said Scanlon, whose work is funded by the California Health Care Foundation.
Statistical analyses also suggest that over time there is significant improvement in systolic blood pressure, body mass index and hemoglobin A1C among CareSouth patients.
Scanlon finds the improvement in care without significant increases in drug costs and improvement in the body mass index unusual. He believes that better lifestyle management could be a reasonable explanation
|Contact: Amitabh Avasthi|