GREAT NECK, N.Y., Aug. 27, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Primary PartnerCare ACO Independent Practice Association, Inc ("Primary PartnerCare ACO"), a primary care accountable care organization participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program and its management and technology partner, Primary PartnerCare Management Group, Inc. ("Primary PartnerCare®") today announced the results of a research study correlating the frequency of Hemoglobin A1c testing and the hospitalization rate and costs for diabetic patients. The study focused on minimizing avoidable medical complications of diabetes due to uncontrolled blood sugars.
Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder affecting over 30 million Americans. The American Diabetes Association ("ADA") states that the estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2017 is $327 billion, including $237 billion in direct medical costs. After adjusting for inflation, the economic costs of diabetes increased by 26% from 2012 to 2017, creating a tremendous financial burden on society, which is only worsening with 700,000 or more people expected to be diagnosed with diabetes each year. People with diagnosed diabetes, average medical expenses 2-3 times higher than what the expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes, with the largest expense being hospital inpatient costs.
The ADA recommends Hemoglobin A1c testing four times per year. However, many primary care physicians take a more conservative approach, reducing the testing to only two times per year if the patient has a "normal" Hemoglobin A1c test, indicating that the patient's blood sugars are in control. Primary PartnerCare ACO undertook this study to more deeply understand the impact of following these guidelines on the patients' quality of life and avoidance of unnecessary hospitalizations.
For purposes of the research study the Primary PartnerCare ACO patients diagnosed with diabetes, were divided into 5 cohorts based on the number of Hemoglobin A1c tests performed within the period (0-4 tests). Patients residing in nursing homes were excluded from the study. The study results showed a direct correlation between the number of Hemoglobin A1c tests and the hospitalization costs of the Primary PartnerCare ACO patients, with patients with 0 tests incurring hospital admission costs of $4,103.32; patients with 1 test, $3,281.67; patients with 2 tests, $2,870.98; and patients with 3 tests, $2,762.31. Those who follow the American Diabetes recommendation for testing four times per year, had an average inpatient hospital cost of $2,358.37, a 28% decrease in costs compared to those only tested once per year, and a 43% decrease in costs compared to those who were never tested.
"As a Medicare Shared Savings Program ACO, we are charged with improving quality of care, while decreasing the cost of care. Increasing the frequency of Hemoglobin A1c testing for our patients is an obvious win, with the test averaging $11.75 per test, simply spending less than $50 per year, can greatly improve quality of life for our patients and decrease the hospital costs for the year." said Harry Jacob, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Primary PartnerCare®. Dr. Jacob further explained "We can use this low cost test as an educational tool to help our patients understand the progression of their disease and take a more proactive approach to their healthcare. No one wants to have to go on insulin, lose their eyesight, undergo amputations, or go on renal dialysis, but these are very real complications that happen."
It is estimated that 7.2 million Americans have diabetes but are untreated. They are either not aware or do not report having diabetes (CDC, 2017). Moreover, according to research conducted in 2017 by Boston University's School of Public Health, recent evidence supports that diabetes-related mortality is far underreported and may actually be the third-leading cause of death in the United States, following heart disease and cancer, a huge leap from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranking it seventh, and fifth for the population 65 and older.
"As Chair of our Clinical Quality Improvement Committee, I encourage our physicians to utilize the results of this powerful research study, and schedule their patients for testing four times a year. I also encourage our doctors to treat the patient as a whole; listen and take the time to understand their concerns. Diabetes, gone untreated can lead to many complications. As primary care physicians, its our job to partner with our patients and help them avoid the risk of these serious and life-threatening complications," stated James A. Stallone, DO, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Primary PartnerCare®.
About Primary PartnerCare® Primary PartnerCare® is a physician-driven management & technology firm founded on the belief that private practice primary care physicians in partnership with their patients produce optimal health. Primary PartnerCare partners with physicians through Primary PartnerCare Alliance IPA, Inc, and Primary PartnerCare ACO Independent Practice Association, Inc, an accountable care organization participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program since January 2014, and the only primary care Medicare ACO in New York State. In addition to its physician companies, Primary PartnerCare includes a next stage management services organization focused on quality performance, care coordination, chronic care management, outcomes improvement, and the development of proprietary software products for health risk assessment, population health, and predictive analytics. Primary PartnerCare is headquartered in Great Neck, NY. For more information, please visit www.PrimaryPartnerCare.com.