Washington, DC (May 10, 2012) - Patients with kidney failure who received collaborative, supportive health services saw better outcomes and lowered medical costs than those who did not receive this continuity of care, according to new research based on the last three years of a Medicare pilot which was presented at the National Kidney Foundation’s Spring Clinical Meetings held here this week.
Researchers led by Dr. Allen Nissenson, of El Segundo, California, analyzed the impact of the demonstration project sponsored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), which compared a collaborative care model against the more traditional, “fee for service” approach, commonly seen in American healthcare. The team found that the medical costs per member were reduced by 5% the first year, 10% the second year and 11% in the third year of the time frame studied.
The pilot program provided integrated disease management by partnering with nephrology groups and nurses to emphasize preventative care, regular immunizations, vascular access and medication management, as well as streamlined care for other pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes. This approach led to improved patient health outcomes and fewer overall hospitalizations, to which they attribute the significant reduction in medical costs.
While collaborative care models have long been touted as beneficial for patient health, this pilot offered a unique opportunity to quantify the financial benefit of such an approach, according to Dr. Nissenson. “We think that this provides a roadmap for how quality of care can be significantly improved while controlling costs, making it a potential model for other chronic disease care efforts,” said Dr. Nissenson.
“The takeaway message for health insurance companies is that ultimately, a holistic approach to caring for kidney patients can lead to better patient outcomes and reduced health care costs. It’s really a win-win situation: everyone from the patient on up to the government can benefit from comprehensive disease management care,” said Lynda Szczech, MD, National Kidney Foundation President.
The National Kidney Foundation is dedicated to preventing and treating kidney disease, improving the health and well being of individuals and families affected by these diseases and increasing availability of all organs for transplantation. For more information visit www.kidney.org.