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University of Michigan, Blue Care Network Study Quantifies Health Care Savings of Regular Dental Care for Patients with Diabetes
Date:12/9/2008

DETROIT, Dec. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Overall medical and pharmacy costs in people with diabetes can be lower by more than 10 percent per year in individuals receiving regular, non-surgical periodontal services, according to a recent University of Michigan study. The study also showed the same procedures were linked to as much as 19 percent lower diabetes-related medical costs. The research findings further underscore the importance of the link between medical and dental health.

"Working with the Michigan Blues, we found insured adults with diabetes in Michigan who receive routine periodontal treatment, such as dental cleanings and scaling, have significantly lower medical care costs than those who do not," George Taylor, D.M.D., the study's principal investigator and associate professor at The University of Michigan School of Dentistry, said. "The results of our analyses provide additional evidence supporting a beneficial role for periodontal treatment in improving overall health in people with diabetes and in lowering overall costs."

The study analyzed five years of claims data from Blue Care Network, a Michigan-based HMO, and was funded by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation. The claims data pool consisted of 2,674 members with diabetes aged 18-64 with at least 12 consecutive months of medical, dental and pharmaceutical coverage.

"Our belief is that research like this can have positive effects on the quality of care and cost of treating patients with diabetes," Dr. Ira Strumwasser, executive director and CEO of the BCBSM Foundation, said. "This study demonstrates our effort to improve the health of all Michigan residents."

"The Michigan Blues are in a unique position to offer members health plans that take advantage of the proven link between oral health and overall health," says Douglas R. Woll, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer for Blue Care Network. "Those with a Blue medical and dental plan benefit from health information and care integration that can lead to improved health and lower costs."

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation is dedicated to improving the health of Michigan residents by supporting health care research and innovative health programs. The foundation's grant programs are conducted in Michigan by Michigan-based researchers and nonprofit community health care organizations.

Over the past 25 years, the BCBSM Foundation has contributed approximately $20 million in grants for research and $5 million for community health programs. This funding has resulted in enhancements to quality, patient safety and access to care for the people of Michigan. The foundation also supports efforts to control the rising costs of health care through research, demonstration and evaluation projects.

The BCBSM Foundation is the philanthropic affiliate of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit bcbsm.com/foundation.

Blue Care Network of Michigan and its subsidiaries have 648,000 members. Blue Care Network features award-winning disease management programs and the largest HMO network of physicians and hospitals in the state, with more than 4,000 primary care physicians, 10,100 specialists and 118 hospitals. Blue Care Network, a nonprofit corporation, is the affiliated HMO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.


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SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation
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