Does age influence the intensity of care in a managed care organization?
Long, Michael J.
Lescoe-Long, Mary A.
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The health care manager. 2005 Apr-Jun; 24(2): 119-23.
The primary objective of this study was to determine whether an inverse relationship between age and the intensity of care prevailed in an elderly, functionally impaired population enrolled in a managed care organization. The secondary objective was to determine whether those who died during the study were treated more intensively than the survivors. A total of 278 enrollees in a managed care organization who were 75 years and over, had a severe functional disability, excessive hospital or Emergency Department use, volunteered to take part in a 2-year study. Seventy-seven clients died during the study. We calculated indices of outpatient care intensity and hospital care intensity for the study period. With minor exceptions, the results clearly show that, for this group of clients, the intensity of outpatient care was clearly, inversely related to age. The intensity of hospital care was also inversely related to age, thereby ruling out the hypothesis that it was being substituted for outpatient care. The results also clearly show that, for this population, those who died during the study period were treated more intensively than the survivors. We found strong support for our hypotheses. An investigation of the reasons for these findings was beyond the scope of our data.
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