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  1. Everett, Beverly MD, FACP
  2. Castel, Liana D. PhD
  3. McGinnis, Matthew BS
  4. Beresky, Amy MS
  5. Cane, Rudolph C. Jr. MD
  6. Cooper, Tasha RN
  7. Davda, Rajesh K. MD
  8. Farmer, Donna BSN, RN, CCM
  9. John, Stella M. BSN, RN
  10. Sollars, Denise L. BSN, RN, CCM
  11. Rausch, John F. Jr. MD, FACP, FNKF


Purpose of Study: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a costly and burdensome public health concern. The goal of this study was to evaluate the impact on outcomes and utilization of a pilot program to identify and engage beneficiaries with CKD at risk for progression from Stage 4 to Stage 5.


Primary Practice Settings: A quality improvement initiative was conducted to assess the impact of case management on costs and outcomes among 7,720 Cigna commercial medical beneficiaries with Stage 4 CKD enrolled in the United States between January 2012 and October 2012.


Methodology and Sample: Claims data were analyzed to compare 3,861 beneficiaries randomized to receive condition-focused case management with 3,859 controls, with follow-up through July 2013. After using an algorithm to identify beneficiaries at highest risk of progression, a case management team implemented, among those assigned to the intervention, an evidence-based assessment tool, provided education and follow-up, engaged nephrologists and other providers, and conducted weekly rounds. Primary outcome measures were hospital admissions, emergency department visits, nephrologist visits, dialysis, arteriovenous (AV) fistula creation, and total medical costs. Analysis of variance techniques were used to test group differences.


Results: As compared with controls, intervention beneficiaries were 12% more likely to have fistula creation (p = .004). Intervention beneficiaries were observed to have savings of $199 per member per month (PMPM), F = 23.05, p = .04. This difference equated to 6% lower total medical costs in the intervention group. Savings observed were derived half from improved in-network utilization and half from reduced hospital costs.


Implications for Case Management Practice:


* The observed 12% increased rate of creation of AV fistulas and $199 (6%) decrease in PMPM cost between the intervention and control groups corresponded to a savings of more than $18 million in 2015 U.S. dollars (USD).


* On the basis of observation of substantial improvements in outcomes and cost savings, health plan administrators could better serve those at highest risk of progression by implementing focused case management.


* Our findings support the value of care coordination between nephrologists, providers, and health plan case managers in improving outcomes and reducing total medical costs among beneficiaries at risk for CKD progression from Stage 4 to Stage 5.