Dementia costs more to treat than heart disease or cancer, study finds
NEW YORK — The annual cost of treating dementia in the United States ranges from $157 billion to $215 billion, according to a new study by the RAND Corp.
The research organization said that number meant dementia costs more to treat than cancer or heart disease, with the greatest cost coming from institutional and home-based long-term care, as opposed to medical services.
The study appeared in the April 4 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine and was funded by the National Institute on Aging, using data from the Health and Retirement Study, which receives support from the National Institute on Aging and the Social Security Administration. The Health and Retirement Study is an ongoing study of people ages 51 years and older that began in 1992.
"The economic burden of caring for people in the United States with dementia is large and growing larger," lead study author and RAND Corp. senior economist Michael Hurd said. "Our findings underscore the urgency of recent federal efforts to develop a coordinated plan to address the growing impact of dementia on American society."
The organization said the new study provides a clearer idea of the disease’s economic burden because it eliminates costs related to other illnesses that affect dementia patients, accounts for variations in the severity of dementia and uses a better estimate of the incidence of the disease, thus providing a lower cost estimate than those reported by the Alzheimer’s Association.
According to estimates in the study, 14.7% of Americans ages 71 years and older suffered from dementia in 2010, a smaller number than those in older and smaller studies, and the total economic cost was estimated at $109 billion for care purchased, a figure that increased to between $159 billion and $215 billion when the monetary value of informal care was included. Medicare paid about $11 billion of dementia-related costs, which were estimated at between $41,689 and $56,290 per person.
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Take Care Clinics expand scope of health services
DEERFIELD, Ill. — Take Care Health, which is owned by Walgreens, has announced it is expanding the scope of services within its Take Care Clinics to include chronic condition management and additional preventive health offerings.
“With this service expansion, Take Care Clinics now provide the most comprehensive service offering within the retail clinic industry, and can play an even more valuable role in helping patients get, stay and live well,” stated Jeffrey Kang, SVP of health and wellness services and solutions at Walgreens. “Through greater access to services and a broader focus on disease prevention and chronic condition management, our clinics can connect and work with physicians and other providers to better help support the increasing demands on our healthcare system today.”
The new services, now available at the more than 330 Take Care Clinics located at select Walgreens (excluding clinics in Missouri), include assessment, treatment and management for chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma and others, as well as additional preventive health services.
Under the new service expansion, in addition to chronic condition management, Take Care Clinic providers can evaluate, recommend and order preventive health services, such as screenings or lab tests, based on a patient’s age, gender and family history.
Walgreens and Take Care Health strongly encourage all patients to have a designated primary care physician and medical home for ongoing medical needs and routine exams, and under this new service expansion will continue to work collaboratively with providers to support and complement a patient’s physician care plan, the company stated.
“The existing gaps in patient care and demands on an already overburdened healthcare system are all projected to worsen with an influx of new patients under healthcare reform,” added Heather Helle, divisional VP, consumer solutions group at Walgreens. “Walgreens is stepping up to be part of the solution. As innovative care delivery models emerge, we are uniquely positioned to play an integral role in addressing the needs of patients, payers, and providers and to help shape the future of health care delivery in the U.S.”
“Our goal is to coordinate with physicians in order to help patients manage their chronic conditions in alignment with their physician’s treatment plan,” stated Alan E. London, chief medical officer for Take Care Clinics. “Walgreens and Take Care Health also continue to develop clinical affiliations with leading health systems to coordinate patient care and to help meet the triple aim of improving health outcomes and patient satisfaction while reducing healthcare costs.”
The company noted that clinical affiliations are aimed at increasing opportunities for clinical coordination and improving patient access to healthcare services available at Take Care Clinics. Through these programs, professionals from the health systems share information on Take Care Clinics and other healthcare options when their locations are closed or unable to schedule an appointment within a patient’s desired timeframe.
“In a post-ACA environment, managing the health of broad populations is going to increasingly require coordination among partners across the spectrum of care,” said David B. Nash, founding dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health in Philadelphia. “I have long been an advocate of the retail clinic model. Take Care Health’s expansion of services and ongoing formation of clinical affiliations with leading health systems represents the direction health care is trending and the type of innovation that will be the key to improving outcomes and increasing access.”
“One of our key goals is to improve access and care for patients,” stated Tim Hobbs, chief physician executive at Community Health Network in Indianapolis. “Through our relationship with Walgreens, we are bringing new thinking to local healthcare delivery and helping to ensure that patients are receiving the best care at the best location. We look forward to enhancing our relationship to find other unique ways to improve the patient experience.”
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