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A break-even analysis for dementia care collaboration: Partners in Dementia Care.

Morgan RO, Bass DM, Judge KS, Liu CF, Wilson N, Snow AL, Pirraglia P, Garcia-Maldonado M, Raia P, Fouladi NN, Kunik ME. A break-even analysis for dementia care collaboration: Partners in Dementia Care. Journal of general internal medicine. 2015 Jun 1; 30(6):804-9.

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BACKGROUND: Dementia is a costly disease. People with dementia, their families, and their friends are affected on personal, emotional, and financial levels. Prior work has shown that the "Partners in Dementia Care" (PDC) intervention addresses unmet needs and improves psychosocial outcomes and satisfaction with care. OBJECTIVE: We examined whether PDC reduced direct Veterans Health Administration (VHA) health care costs compared with usual care. DESIGN: This study was a cost analysis of the PDC intervention in a 30-month trial involving five VHA medical centers. PARTICIPANTS: Study subjects were veterans (N = 434) 50 years of age and older with dementia and their caregivers at two intervention (N = 269) and three comparison sites (N = 165). INTERVENTIONS: PDC is a telephone-based care coordination and support service for veterans with dementia and their caregivers, delivered through partnerships between VHA medical centers and local Alzheimer's Association chapters. MAIN MEASURES: We tested for differences in total VHA health care costs, including hospital, emergency department, nursing home, outpatient, and pharmacy costs, as well as program costs for intervention participants. Covariates included caregiver reports of veterans' cognitive impairment, behavior problems, and personal care dependencies. We used linear mixed model regression to model change in log total cost post-baseline over a 1-year follow-up period. KEY RESULTS: Intervention participants showed higher VHA costs than usual-care participants both before and after the intervention but did not differ significantly regarding change in log costs from pre- to post-baseline periods. Pre-baseline log cost (p = 0.001), baseline cognitive impairment (p = 0.05), number of personal care dependencies (p = 0.01), and VA service priority (p = 0.01) all predicted change in log total cost. CONCLUSIONS: These analyses show that PDC meets veterans' needs without significantly increasing VHA health care costs. PDC addresses the priority area of care coordination in the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease, offering a low-cost, structured, protocol-driven, evidence-based method for effectively delivering care coordination.

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