Protecting the Quality of Seniors' Lives

Protecting the Quality of Seniors' Lives

03.18.11 | By Kate Connors

We've written repeatedly on The Catalyst in about the importance of adherence to medicines for improved health and, ultimately, healthcare services.

An analysis by Harvard Medical School and sponsored by PhRMA helps to drive home that point.

Evaluating databases maintained by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to examine hospitalization rates for eight health conditions (either chronic diseases or those potentially caused by chronic diseases), the researchers found that increased drug coverage through Medicare Part D - the prescription drug benefit - reduced hospitalizations in senior citizens.

In aggregate, Part D coverage reduced hospitalizations for the eight conditions by just over 4 percent. The researchers called the effect of Part D "a significant impact."

The good news continues, the researchers found. If the study's findings were applied to all seniors covered under Medicare Part D, approximately 77,000 hospitalizations could be avoided.

They also concluded that because the data in their sample were from the first two years following implementation of Part D, the full effect of increased drug coverage on hospitalization rates may not yet have been realized.

It's easy to talk about the healthcare costs that would be saved by avoiding those hospitalizations. But more important, let's think about the number of seniors who avoided the pain, the fear, and the discomfort of facing a health scare leading to hospitalization.

In my opinion, that's value.

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