Abstract 2707: The Magnitude of Health Care Resource Utilization by Medicare Beneficiaries with Heart Failure
Introduction: By 2010, the number of individuals ≥ 65 years with a heart failure (HF) diagnosis should increase by an additional 700,000. As the financial burden of HF is expected to substantially increase, we examined health care expenditures of Medicare beneficiaries with HF to estimate the current healthcare costs and resource allocation.
Methods: An analysis of 2005 Medicare claims was conducted, using a 5% sample standard analytic and denominator file, limited data set version to extrapolate the 34,150,200 Medicare beneficiaries. The cohort was defined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hierarchical Condition Categories Model which requires one HF diagnosis from a physician or hospital outpatient department/inpatient bill. HMO enrollees, persons without Part A and Part B coverage, and those outside the United States were excluded.
Results: Based on inclusion criteria, 260,076 beneficiaries were identified. Beneficiaries with HF accounted for 13% of the total beneficiary population and 37% of all Medicare spending. Reimbursement for hospital inpatient admissions, physician visits, and hospital outpatient visits accounted for $12,556; $5,875; and $2,753 per-capita, respectively. In one year, 22% of all beneficiaries required hospitalization compared to 59% of beneficiaries with HF. Thirty-one percent of beneficiaries with HF had ≥ 2 inpatient admissions. Twenty-four percent of all hospital discharges were for HF, either as a principal diagnosis or co-morbidity, accounting for $30.4 billion. On average, 8.3 different outpatient and inpatient providers ordered services for a single beneficiary. Beneficiaries with at least two prior HF hospitalizations within the index period had on average 3.04 physician visits every three months. Only 26% of these visits were conducted by a cardiologist.
Conclusion: Medicare beneficiaries with HF impose a tremendous burden on Medicare, consisting of over one-third of Medicare spending. It will be important to determine how much of this burden is due to HF and how much to comorbid conditions. Development of specialized Medicare HF Management Programs, also providing comprehensive care for co-morbidities, could curtail these admissions and potentially reduce costs.