If continuous increase in health care costs are inevitable -as economists predict, is it possible for health care delivery reform to succeed in reducing the overall burden of health care expenditures on the U.S. economy?
According to the results of a new study, the focus should shift from cost control to improving utilization rates and quality outcomes, as described in detail in an article in Population Health Management, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Population Health Management
website until October 3, 2014.
In the article "Evaluating Health Care Delivery Reform Initiatives in the Face of 'Cost Disease'," Steven Thompson, PhD, University of Richmond, VA, Rajiv Kohli, PhD, College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA), Craig Jones, MD and Nick Lovejoy, Vermont Blueprint for Health (Williston, VT), and Katharine McGraves-Lloyd and Karl Finison, Onpoint Health Data (Portland, ME), analyzed claims by patients in Vermont covered by Medicaid and commercial insurance for the 5-year period 2007-2011. The authors evaluated utilization rates and cost of care for inpatient services for individuals treated in patient-centered medical homes, which are part of a novel delivery system model in Vermont that focuses on enhancing preventive health services. Through disease prevention and improved disease management, a goal of this delivery model is reduced inpatient care, with a corresponding decrease in per patient cost of care.
"Research like this is very important in building the evidentiary basis for the Patient Centered Medical Home," says Editor-in-Chief David B. Nash, MD, MBA, Dean and Dr. Raymond C. and Doris N. Grandon Professor, Jefferson School of Population Health, Philadelphia, PA. "It is especially important when it comes to helping persons in the Medicaid program."