Dialysis patients are the only Medicare beneficiaries prohibited from joining managed care plans. Concerns have been raised about the ability of such plans to provide the comprehensive care required by patients with this complex condition. However, more than 20,000 dialysis patients belong to such plans because they were enrolled before developing end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Disease-state management, successfully applied to patients with diabetes mellitus and congestive heart failure, is now being used in patients with ESRD. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) and standardized hospitalization ratios (SHRs) were calculated for 1998 and 1999 in 1,541 patients enrolled in the RMS Disease Management program of renal disease-state management using US Renal Data System methods. SMRs were 0.643 and 0.806 for 1998 and 1999, respectively, significantly different from 1.0 for both years (P < 0.001). SHRs were 0.620 and 0.503 for 1998 and 1999, respectively, significantly different from 1.0 for both years (P < 0.001). Although additional studies are needed to define the aspects of care that are most important for the outcomes seen, this study shows that favorable outcomes are achievable for this vulnerable patient population within a managed care setting that applies coordinated approaches to care.
- Coordinated care
- Disease management
- End-stage renal disease (ESRD)
- Standardized hospitalization ratio (SHR)
- Standardized mortality ratio (SMR)