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Keywords:

  • care coordination;
  • chronic disease;
  • evidence-based practice;
  • evidence translation;
  • geriatrics;
  • transitional care

Abstract

Objective  To evaluate the impact of translating into a large US health plan, the Transitional Care Model (TCM), an evidence-based approach to address the needs of chronically ill older adults throughout acute episodes of illness.

Methods  A prospective, quasi-experimental study of 172 at-risk Aetna Medicare Advantage members in the mid-Atlantic region who received the TCM. A baseline and post-intervention (average of 2 months) comparison of enrolees' health status and quality of life was conducted. Member and physician satisfaction were assessed within 1 month post intervention. Health resource utilization and cost outcomes were compared to a matched control group of Aetna members at multiple intervals through 1 year.

Results  Improvements in all health status and quality of life measures were observed post- intervention compared to pre-intervention. Among 155 stringently matched pairs, a significant decrease in number of re-hospitalizations (45 vs. 60, P < 0.041) and total hospital days (252 vs. 351, P < 0.032) were observed at 3 months. Reductions in other utilization outcomes or time points were not statistically significant. The TCM was associated with a short-term decrease of $439 per member per month in total health care costs at 3 months and cumulative per member savings of $2170 at 1 year (P < 0.037).

Conclusions  Findings demonstrate that a rigorously tested model of transitional care for chronically ill older adults can be successfully translated into a real-world organization and achieve higher value.