Chronic Disease Care
A disease management program for Medicaid beneficiaries in Florida was effective in reducing hospital inpatient days, emergency department visits and outpatient visits for chronic illnesses across four different racial/ethnic groups, with the exception of outpatient visits among African-Americans, according to a study in the American Journal of Managed Care. The study found that although the disease management program led to similar absolute reductions in utilization of services across racial/ethnic groups, it did not reduce baseline disparities in the utilization of inpatient days.
The researchers concluded that the disease management program helped improve self-management of chronic diseases and reduce utilization of high-cost services, while also reducing some disparities among chronically ill Medicaid populations. Researchers added that lower utilization of hospital days and ED visits does not result in worse health outcomes among disease management patients and that even modest declines in such services could have a significant effect on Medicaid spending (Kominski et al., American Journal of Managed Care, March 2008).