Study: Measurements of chronic disease management savings understate case

Right now, federal policymakers are wavering over whether chronic disease management is really as great a financial deal as it's been made out to be. The CBO made things worse when it came out with a study suggesting that chronic disease management programs could actually add costs to the federal ticket.

However, the debate goes on, and this week, an article in Health Affairs weighs in on the side of chronic disease management programs. A new study, funded by the National Changing Diabetes Program at Novo Nordisk Inc., suggests that if the right programs are implemented, chronic disease management might actually be more cost-effective than some estimates suggest.

To make their estimates, the researchers used a new epidemiologically-based model projecting federal costs for managing Type 2 diabetes. The model looks at varied policy options and considers what their financial impact would be. This is in contrast to the CBO, which estimates costs using actuarial, or "health economic," models. 

The authors say their model does more to capture the long-term effects on health that arise from changing the progression of a disease like diabetes. They note that CBO models only cover costs for 10 years, while chronic illnesses--especially diabetes--may manifest their biggest costs in complications that come much later.

To learn more about this research:
- read this Healthcare Finance News piece