People with disabilities are the highest-cost Medicaid group

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Medicaid patients with disabilities also have other problems that lead to higher drug and medical costs.
A Kaiser Permanente study, built on an earlier analysis of one year of national Medicaid diagnostic data, found that when prescription drugs were added to the study, more problems were associated with people with disabilities, making them both the highest-need and the highest cost Medicaid patient.
“Analyzing prescription drug use in addition to diagnostic claims identifies considerably more beneficiaries with co-morbidities, and notably, a significant increase in patients with behavioral health issues,” said Dr. Rick Kronick, a researcher at the University of California at San Diego. “By expanding these insights into the population’s complex needs, this work can help Medicaid stakeholders in designing tailored care management interventions for patients with multiple chronic conditions.”
The findings include a significantly higher rate of psychiatric illness and cardiovascular disease in Medicare patients with disabilities. The study could lead to ways to tailor care to save money, Kronick said.
Other findings include:
– 45 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries with disabilities also have three or more chronic conditions.
– 49 percent of patients have a psychiatric illness, and 44 percent also have a cardiovascular disease.
– Costs for these patients represent 75 percent of total spending for beneficiaries with disabilities.
The entire study is available at www.chcs.org.