Reduction of healthcare costs through a transitions-of-care program

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Abstract

Purpose

Results of an evaluation of the impact of a pharmacy-based transitional care program on healthcare costs in a population of high-risk patients are reported.

Methods

A nonrandomized, observational cohort study was conducted to compare cost outcomes in a group of patients discharged from a single hospital who were referred to an ambulatory care pharmacy–based transitions-of-care (TOC) program and a control group of patients discharged from neighboring hospitals who received usual care; all patients were members of the same managed Medicaid plan. The intervention and control groups were matched by number of hospitalizations during the 180 days preceding the index admission and by index admission length of stay. In the intervention group, all matched patients referred for TOC services (including those who did not qualify for services, could not be contacted, or declined services) were included in an intent-to-treat analysis. Thirty- and 180-day inpatient, outpatient, prescription, emergency room, and total costs were analyzed by ordinary least-squares and generalized linear model regressions, with selected costs further analyzed using two-part regression models.

Results

Among 830 patients referred to the TOC program, total healthcare costs at 180 days after discharge were an average of $2,139 lower than costs in the control group, yielding estimated savings of nearly $1.8 million for the managed care plan.

Conclusion

Compared with usual postdischarge care, use of TOC services was associated with a significant reduction in 180-day total healthcare costs.

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