Purpose: To understand the impact of experience and contacts with care coordinators on Medicaid Managed Care (MMC) enrollees with disabilities.
Method: Primary data was collected from a random sample of 6000 out of the 100,000 people with disabilities enrolled in one state's mandatory MMC program. Surveys were conducted through the mail, telephone, and Internet; 1041 surveys were completed. The sample used for analysis included 442 MMC enrollees who received care coordination. Regression analyses were conducted with the outcomes of number of unmet health care needs and enrollee appraisal of the health services they received. Race, age, gender, and disability variables controlled for demographic differences, and the independent variables included enrollee experience with a care coordinator (coordinator knowledge of enrollee medical history and whether the coordinator took into account enrollee wishes and input) and frequency of contact with a care coordinator.
Results: Positive enrollee experiences with care coordinators significantly related to more positive enrollee health service appraisals and fewer unmet health care needs; frequency of contact did not have any significant impacts. People with mental health disabilities and intellectual/developmental disabilities had significantly lower health service appraisals. People with mental health disabilities had significantly more unmet needs.
Conclusions: Quality of care coordination, but not frequency of contact alone, is associated with better health outcomes for MMC enrollees. Implications for rehabilitation Care coordination is a core component of managed care and facilitates effective healthcare management for people with complex chronic conditions and disabilities. Better experiences with care coordinators is related to fewer unmet healthcare needs and more positive health care service appraisals for Medicaid managed care enrollees. The continuous development of person-centered care coordination strategies and training programs emphasizing quality relationships between coordinators and consumers should be prioritized.
Keywords: Case management; USA; service appraisal; unmet needs.