Health Care Use and Costs for Participants in a Diabetes Disease Management Program, United States, 2007-2008
Published Date:Apr 15 2011
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 2011; 8(3).
The Disease Management Association of America identifies diabetes as one of the chronic conditions with the greatest potential for management. TRICARE Management Activity, which administers health care benefits for US military service personnel, retirees, and their dependents, created a disease management program for beneficiaries with diabetes. The objective of this study was to determine whether participation intensity and prior indication of uncontrolled diabetes were associated with health care use and costs for participants enrolled in TRICARE's diabetes management program.
This ongoing, opt-out study used a quasi-experimental approach to assess program impact for beneficiaries (n = 37,370) aged 18 to 64 living in the United States. Inclusion criteria were any diabetes-related emergency department visits or hospitalizations, more than 10 diabetes-related ambulatory visits, or more than twenty 30-day prescriptions for diabetes drugs in the previous year. Beginning in June 2007, all participants received educational mailings. Participants who agreed to receive a baseline telephone assessment and telephone counseling once per month in addition to educational mailings were considered active, and those who did not complete at least the baseline telephone assessment were considered passive. We categorized the diabetes status of each participant as "uncontrolled" or "controlled" on the basis of medical claims containing diagnosis codes for uncontrolled diabetes in the year preceding program eligibility. We compared observed outcomes to outcomes predicted in the absence of diabetes management. Prediction equations were based on regression analysis of medical claims for a historical control group (n = 23,818) that in October 2004 met the eligibility criteria for TRICARE's program implemented June 2007. We conducted regression analysis comparing historical control group patient outcomes after October 2004 with these baseline characteristics.
Per-person total annual medical savings for program participants, calculated as the difference between observed and predicted outcomes, averaged $783. Active participants had larger reductions in inpatient days and emergency department visits, larger increases in ambulatory visits, and larger increases in receiving retinal examinations, hemoglobin A1c tests, and urine microalbumin tests compared with passive participants. Participants with prior indication of uncontrolled diabetes had higher per-person total annual medical savings, larger reduction in inpatient days, and larger increases in ambulatory visits than did participants with controlled diabetes.
Greater intensity of participation in TRICARE's diabetes management program was associated with lower medical costs and improved receipt of recommended testing. That patients who were categorized as having uncontrolled diabetes realized greater program benefits suggests diabetes management programs should consider indication of uncontrolled diabetes in their program candidate identification criteria.
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