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Health Care Costs and Participation in a Community-Based Health Promotion Program for Older Adults
  • Published Date:
    Feb 15 2010
  • Source:
    Prev Chronic Dis. 7(2).
Filetype[PDF-438.69 KB]

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  • Description:

    EnhanceWellness (EW) is a community-based health promotion program that helps prevent disabilities and improves health and functioning in older adults. A previous randomized controlled trial demonstrated a decrease in inpatient use for EW participants but did not evaluate health care costs. We assessed the effect of EW participation on health care costs.


    We performed a retrospective cohort study in King County, Washington. Enrollees in Group Health Cooperative (GHC), a mixed-model health maintenance organization, who were aged 65 years or older and who participated in EW from 1998 through 2005 were matched 1:3 by age and sex to GHC enrollees who did not participate in EW. We matched 218 EW participants by age and sex to 654 nonparticipants. Participants were evaluated for 1 year after the date they began the program. The primary outcome was total health care costs; secondary outcomes were inpatient costs, primary care costs, percentage of hospitalizations, and number of hospital days. We compared postintervention outcomes between EW participants and nonparticipants by using linear regression. Results were adjusted for prior year costs (or health care use), comorbidity, and preventive health care-seeking behaviors.


    Mean age of participants and nonparticipants was 79 years, and 72% of participants and nonparticipants were female. Adjusted total costs in the year following the index date were $582 lower among EW participants than nonparticipants, but this difference was not significant.


    Although EW participation demonstrated health benefits, participation does not appear to result in significant health care cost savings among people receiving health care through a health maintenance organization.

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