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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Medicare Advantage Plans Improve Diabetic Care

Medicare Advantage Chronic Special Needs Plans are effective in managing care for some of Medicare’s most vulnerable beneficiaries with diabetes, according to a study published in the January issue of Health Affairs.

The study compared 36,000 Care Improvement Plus members with diabetes to a similar population enrolled in traditional Medicare. Members of special needs plans members had more primary care. They had reduced rates of hospitalization and hospital readmissions. The study indicates that offering additional services to people with chronic diseases could result in lower Medicare spending and may improve the quality of life for beneficiaries with diabetes.

The plans were able to reduce hospital readmission rates, by as much as 40%, by offering services such as in-home preventive health visits. these include services such as foot exams, social needs assessments, and medication reviews. The plans were able to reduce hospitalizations and readmissions for non-Caucasian members at rates greater than their Caucasian counterparts, suggesting that the plan’s model is effective in addressing ethnic and racial disparities in healthcare.

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