What can a pilot congestive heart failure disease management program tell us about likely return on investment?: A case study from a program offered to federal employees

Dis Manag. 2005 Dec;8(6):346-60. doi: 10.1089/dis.2005.8.346.


In 1999, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Federal Employee Program (FEP) implemented a pilot disease management program to manage congestive heart failure (CHF) among members. The purpose of this project was to estimate the financial return on investment in the pilot CHF program, prior to a full program rollout. A cohort of 457 participants from the state of Maryland was matched to a cohort of 803 nonparticipants from a neighboring state where the CHF program was not offered. Each cohort was followed for 12 months before the program began and 12 months afterward. The outcome measures of primary interest were the differences over time in medical care expenditures paid by FEP and by all payers. Independent variables included indicators of program participation, type of heart disease, comorbidity measures, and demographics. From the perspective of the funding organization (FEP), the estimated return on investment for the pilot CHF disease management program was a savings of $1.08 in medical expenditure for every dollar spent on the program. Adding savings to other payers as well, the return on investment was a savings of $1.15 in medical expenditures per dollar spent on the program. The amount of savings depended upon CHF risk levels. The value of a pilot initiative and evaluation is that lessons for larger-scale efforts can be learned prior to full-scale rollout.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance Plans
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Disease Management*
  • Federal Government*
  • Female
  • Government Agencies / economics*
  • Health Benefit Plans, Employee*
  • Health Expenditures / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Research
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy
  • Heart Failure / economics*
  • Heart Failure / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Investments / economics*
  • Male
  • Maryland
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Pilot Projects
  • Virginia