In the News: Apr 5–12

Community Index Shows Neighborhoods Are Linked to Pediatric Acute Care

An American Academy of Pediatrics article found that children living in low opportunity neighborhoods have significantly greater odds of 4 or more acute care visits than children living in the highest opportunity neighborhoods. The Child Opportunity Index measures health disparities related to neighborhood factors other than income (eg, proximity to parks) and was found to be negatively associated with specific disease groups including respiratory conditions, asthma, assault and ambulatory care. These findings could contribute to new interventions targeting neighborhood-specific health disparities.

Hospitals are challenged to provide appropriate ED pediatric care due to space and provider constraints, distinct disease presentations, and a push to avoid inpatient admissions. For the latest trends on the population health impact on pediatric ED utilization, read Planning for Pediatric OP Shift: ED and Observation Units on page 129 of our most recent FAQ Compendium (Volume 6).

Antibiotic-Resistant (AR) Infection Treatment Costs Exceed ~$2 Billion

A recent Health Affairs study used Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data to examine the national cost of antibiotic-resistant infection treatment between 2002 and 2014, finding that spending for AR infection patients was 165% higher than spending for non-AR infection patients. Antibiotic resistance was found to have added $1,383 to bacterial infection treatment cost, amounting to an estimated national treatment cost of $2.2 billion annually; the percentage of bacterial infections with antibiotic resistance and the cost to treat AR infections also doubled between 2002 and 2014.

Given the rising incidence of AR infections and the importance of quality outcomes under value-based payment, Sg2 believes that health systems need to understand the risks AR infections pose to patients and their bottom line. For strategies on mitigating the quality and financial risks of AR pathogens, read the Sg2 Expert Insight, Antibiotic-Resistant Pathogens: More Than a Bug, Potential Business Chaos.

Meal Programs Decreased Health Care Usage in Dual Eligible Medicare/Medicaid

A recent Health Affairs article identified a correlation between meal delivery programs for food-insufficient patients and decreased medical spending. Researchers provided medically tailored and nontailored meals to select groups of dually eligible Medicare and Medicaid patients, who were then compared to control group participants not receiving food assistance. Hospital admission records showed fewer inpatient admissions and lower medical spending for the meal delivery program population. The findings suggest these programs can be effective in reducing adverse health events and managing costs in specific populations.

Sg2 believes that integrating competencies addressing social determinants of health (SDH) will be integral to managing health care utilization and cost in the Medicare/Medicaid dual eligible population as the health care landscape moves toward value-based care. To learn more on how health systems can address SDH to best reduce expensive health care interventions and improve outcomes, read the Sg2 Expert Insight, Improving the SDH System of CARE: Lessons From Safety Net Providers.

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