AHA: Medical Usage High Among Heart Failure Patients

Each year, those with severe disease see up to 23 clinicians
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Medicare beneficiaries with heart failure see a large number of clinicians each year who provide and order medical care, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions held Nov. 8 to 12 in New Orleans.

Robert Lee Page II, of the University of Colorado Denver in Aurora, Colo., and colleagues analyzed a 5 percent sample of Medicare claims from fiscal year 2005 to extrapolate the data to 34,150,200 Medicare beneficiaries. Based on their inclusion criteria, they identified 173,863 beneficiaries who received care for heart failure.

The researchers found that among beneficiaries with mild, moderate and severe heart failure, the average numbers of clinicians providing care in all sites were 15.9, 18.6, 23.1, respectively. They also found that beneficiaries with mild, moderate and severe heart failure saw an average of 10.1, 11.5 and 12.1 clinicians, respectively, as outpatients. Only 10 percent of all visits in patients with mild disease were specifically for heart failure compared to 20 percent in patients with moderate or severe disease, the investigators report.

"These data highlight the importance for developing systems and processes of coordinated care for this population," the authors conclude.

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