How to Reduce Healthcare Costs for Your ADRD Population

Updated: Jul 19

Preventing unnecessary ER visits, hospital admissions and re-admissions


The most expensive chronic diseases in the U.S. based on total direct healthcare costs are: Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Osteoarthiritis1. Individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease Related Dementias (ADRD) have higher levels of hospital admissions, re-admissions, and ER visits that result in:

  • Medicare costs of $26,360 for individuals with ADRD vs. $8,100 for those without ADRD2

  • 75% higher mean Medicare ED payments for those with ADRD vs. for those without ADRD3


Individuals with ADRD require intense levels of caregiving and their caregivers play a large role in health care decisions. Due to a lack of support caregivers often become overwhelmed and seek expensive medical care that’s unnecessary.


Since 2018, Congress has addressed the need to better support caregivers of the chronically ill:

  • CHRONIC Care Act

  • RAISE Family Caregivers Act

  • Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Act (pending in the 117th Congress)


Insurer programs have addressed caregiver needs through education and access to community resources. While beneficial, these programs haven’t addressed the root problem – empowering caregivers to effectively interact with healthcare systems and decreasing caregiver stress while fulfilling this difficult role.


Communication that results in meaningful connections and reaches caregivers through a multi-component approach holds the potential to foster valuable, trusting relationships.


Innovative programs are leading the way. The University of California, San Francisco’s (UCSF) dementia care ecosystem developed at their Memory and Aging Centers is a great example. GLENNERCARETM introduced by The George G. Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Centers delivers highly effective dementia care through a virtual service model. These types of programs deliver:

  1. Improved dementia patient well-being

  2. Decreased levels of caregiver depression

  3. Reduced caregiver burden

  4. Decreased number of emergency department visits

  5. Fewer unnecessary hospital admissions and re-admissions


VirtuALZ embraced the innovative methods and principles that originated in these programs when creating a new value-based caregiver support program.


References

  1. Milken Institute: The Costs of Chronic Diseases in the U.S. (2018)

  2. The American Journal of Managed Care

  3. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov


Note: The VirtuALZ blog (FYI) is strictly a news and information website about Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias and life over 60. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The VirtuALZ Blog (FYI) is intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Alzheimer’s disease.