Case Management

CMW News: Keeping aging patients out of the hospital is harder than it seems

Case Management Weekly, February 18, 2009

A recent study aimed at keeping elderly patients with chronic conditions out of the hospital failed, according to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

CMS hoped that with increased care coordination, elderly patients could receive a clearer care message and be able to care for themselves better, thus reducing the number of hospitalizations required for these patients. In the 15 research programs, conducted from 2002 to 2005, nurses contacted patients regularly in hopes of increasing adherence to care plans and facilitating communication with physicians. The outcomes were measured by the number of hospitalizations and Medicare monthly expenditures. However, 13 out of 15 programs showed no differences in hospitalizations and did not save Medicare a significant amount of money.

Experts say the program failed because changing seniors’ habits is very difficult. The study highlights challenges the healthcare industry faces as the aging population increases.

Sources: The Journal of the American Medical Association, The Washington Times

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