Report Reveals Solutions to Cut Healthcare Costs in Caring for Dual Eligibles

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The North Penn Community Health Foundation recently released its report, “Planning a Better Future for Dual Eligible Elderly in Montgomery County,” and thus became the first county in the state to address the healthcare needs of the highly vulnerable and costly dual eligible population. The report, developed by a workgroup of knowledgeable stakeholders convened by the Polisher Research Institute, the globally recognized gerontological research arm of the Madlyn and Leonard Abramson Center for Jewish Life, explores the problems and potential solutions for caring for the dual eligible population locally and beyond.

“Today is an exciting day for Montgomery County,” said Russell Johnson, CEO of the North Penn Community Health Foundation, an independent foundation providing support to organizations that serve the unmet health and/or human service needs of residents and organizations living in and serving the community. “The findings released today offer great insight and opportunity to better serve the dual eligible population here in Montgomery County, but also provide feasible solutions that can be applied state- and even nationwide. Solutions that can facilitate better care and simultaneously reduce costs — that is positive news for all of us, especially here, in Montgomery County, at the epicenter of the research.”

 Among nine systems change recommendations to better improve the care provided to the dual eligible population, the report also revealed:

 

  • Pennsylvania has more than 333,096 full dual eligible individuals enrolled in its Medicaid program; it is estimated that 7,833 dual eligible individuals age 65 and older reside in Montgomery County, Pa.
  • Dual eligible individuals represent the most costly segment of the Medicaid recipient population
  • Nationally, dual eligibles account for 17% of the Medicare population but 29% of Medicare spending; in Pennsylvania, dual eligibles account for 18% of Pennsylvania’s total Medicare population but 43% of Pennsylvania’s total Medicare spending
  • 20% of dual eligible individuals are institutionalized as compared to only two percent of non-dual eligible Medicare participants; in Montgomery County, Pa., 40% of dual eligible individuals are institutionalize

“Dual eligible individuals face some very unique challenges in healthcare here in Montgomery County, but also across the country,” said Carol Irvine, principal investigator of the workgroup and president and CEO of the Abramson Center for Jewish Life. “These individuals are often sicker and more prone to chronic illnesses than the rest of the population, yet they face obstacles in access and delivery of the care they need. As healthcare providers, it’s our duty to find solutions to cost-effectively care for these individuals, and this report takes the first step in doing just that.”

The report was introduced on November 7th at a community conversation event hosted by Montgomery County and the North Penn Community Health Foundation, bringing together local thought leaders in health, healthcare and health policy. Speakers included Brian Duke, Pennsylvania Secretary of Aging; Josh Shapiro, Chairman, Montgomery County Board of Commissioners; Russell Johnson, CEO, North Penn Community Health Foundation; Alissa Halperin, Principal, Halperin Butera; Barbara O’Malley, Acting Director, Montgomery County Department of Aging and Adult Services; and Honorable Stanley R. Ott, 38th Judicial District.

To view the full report and its findings, please visit: http://npchf.org/sites/npchf.org/files/attachments/dual_eligible_report_final_2014_10.pdf.

 

Click here to read the Philadelphia Inquirer's coverage of the Dual Eligible report.

Click here to read the Times Herald's coverage of the Dual Eligible report.