The number of people with chronic health conditions is increasing, and such patients often require complex and expensive medical care, a study published in the journal Medical Care Research and Review finds.
According to researchers, patients with multiple chronic conditions have a disproportionately high effect on annual hospital costs. Researchers found that among hospitalized adults:
- About 8% have no chronic conditions;
- About 14% have one chronic condition; and
- 51% of patients have between two and four chronic conditions.
Researchers suggested that Medicare might need to reassess how it calculates reimbursements for patients with a history of hospitalization for multiple chronic conditions. A new model should take into consideration the principal diagnosis from hospital visits, as well as the costs associated with care for chronic conditions, according to researchers.
Identifying hospitalized patients with complex needs also could help in targeting new services in a health plan or risk adjusting plan premiums, researchers said (Friedman et al., Medical Care Research and Review, June 2006). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.