Objective: A managed care organization sought to achieve efficiencies in care delivery and cost savings by anticipating and better caring for its frail and least stable members.
Study design: Time sequence case study of program intervention across an entire managed care population in its first year compared with the prior baseline year.
Patients and methods: Key attributes of the intervention included predictive registries of at-risk members based on existing data, relentless focus on the high-risk group, an integrated clinical and psychosocial approach to assessments and are planning, a reengineered care management process, secured Internet applications enabling rapid implementation and broad connectivity, and population-based outcomes metrics derived from widely used measures of resource utilization and functional status.
Results: Concentrating on the highest-risk group, which averaged just 1.1% prevalence in the total membership, yielded bottom line results. When the year before program implementation (July 1997 through June 1998) was compared with the subsequent year, the total population's annualized commercial admission rate was reduced 5.3%, and seniors' was reduced 3.0%. A claims-paid analysis exclusively of the highest-risk group revealed that their efficiencies and savings overwhelmingly contributed to the membershipwide effect. This subgroup's costs dropped 35.7% from preprogram levels of $2590 per member per month (excluding pharmaceuticals). During the same time, patient-derived cross-sectional functional status rose 12.5%.
Conclusions: A sharply focused, Internet-deployed case management strategy achieved economic and functional status results on a population basis and produced systemwide savings in its first year of implementation.