Study Finds Specialized Disease Management Program Reduces Costs and Hospital Stays for Kidney Patients

Orlando, FL—April 19, 2017—A new study, presented at National Kidney Foundation’s 26th annual Spring Clinical Meetings, finds that kidney patients who have a specialized disease program available to them have reduced medical costs, reduced inpatient hospital admissions and better patient outcomes compared to patients without the program. 
“Costs of renal care can increase rapidly with chronic kidney disease (CKD) progression.  Managing these patients early in their CKD may improve quality of care and delay initiation of renal replacement therapy,” said Kael Haig, MS, Associate Director, Healthcare Economics, OptumHealth and the lead author in the study. “Specialized renal disease management programs can reduce overall costs and hospital admissions.  We need to redesign how we manage renal patients and provide them with education, tools and resources to understand their disease so that patients can actively participate in the management of their progressive CKD and comorbid conditions.  Having an engaged patient, engaged provider and engaged payer is the key to cost effective and quality renal care.” 
The new study measures the association between access to a specialized disease management (DM) program and outcomes among patients with Stage four or five CKD. Patients included in the study were commercially insured members who were at least 18 years old and were identified as having Stage four or five CKD during January 1, 2013 – December 31, 2015. The study authors compared two populations: a group who had the DM program available to them and a group who did not. The availability of the program depended on the patient’s employer purchasing the program. This study included 29,086 unique patients: 8,366 were eligible for the DM program, 20,720 were not eligible for the program.
Patients who had access to the DM program had significantly lower monthly medical spending than patients who did not, $2,430 compared to $2,917.  In addition, patients who had access to the DM program had significantly fewer monthly inpatient admissions than patients who did not have access to the program, 0.04 compared to 0.05.  Patients who had access to the DM program also had a decreased risk of starting chronic dialysis compared to individuals who did not. 
The study will be presented during the National Kidney Foundation 2017 Spring Clinical Meetings in Orlando, FL from April 18-22.  For the past 26 years, nephrology healthcare professionals from across the country have come to the NKF Spring Clinical Meetings to learn about the newest developments related to all aspects of nephrology practice, network with colleagues, and present their research findings. The NKF Spring Clinical Meetings are designed for meaningful change in the multidisciplinary healthcare teams’ skills, performance, and patient health outcomes.  It is the only conference of its kind that focuses on translating science into practice for the entire healthcare team.  
Kidney Disease Facts
1 in 3 American adults is at risk for kidney disease.  26 million American adults have kidney disease—and most aren’t aware of it.  Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, family history, and age 60+.  People of African American; Hispanic; Native American; Asian; or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease.  African Americans are 3 ½ times more likely, and Hispanics 1 ½ times more likely, to experience kidney failure.

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive and longstanding organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney diseaseFor more information about NKF visit