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Impact of a multidisciplinary pain management program on patient care utilization and cost of care

Authors Maeng DD, Baylor K, Bulger JB, Han JJ

Received 14 June 2018

Accepted for publication 7 August 2018

Published 18 October 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 2375—2383


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr E Alfonso Romero-Sandoval

Daniel D Maeng, Kelly Baylor, John B Bulger, John J Han

Department of Epidemiology and Health Services Research, Geisinger, Danville, PA, USA

Objective: Chronic pain is a highly prevalent and costly condition with few proven treatment options. Since 2014, Geisinger’s Department of Pain Medicine has implemented the Multidisciplinary Pain Program (MPP), which consists of a 3-day educational seminar followed by 12 months of comprehensive care. This study examines the impact of MPP on care utilization and cost between 2014 and 2016.
Methods: A retrospective health insurance claims data analysis covering a 3-year period between January 2013 and December 2016. Among all patients referred to MPP during the period, a subset of those who were Geisinger Health Plan (GHP) members was identified (113 patients). Those who were GHP members and were referred to MPP after December 2016 served as the contemporaneous comparison group (69 patients). GHP’s claims data for the corresponding period were analyzed on a per-member-per-month (PMPM) basis.
Results: MPP was associated with US$754 PMPM reduction in total cost of care including prescription drug costs (P=0.014) and US$846 reduction in total medical cost excluding prescription drugs (P=0.006). These cost savings were attributable to reductions in utilization of high-end diagnostic imaging (52 per-1,000 members-per month; P=0.015) and acute inpatient admissions (20 per-1,000 members-per month; P=0.086).
Conclusion: Patients enrolled in MPP were less likely to use expensive diagnostic imaging and experienced fewer hospitalizations, resulting in total cost of care savings. These findings are consistent with the expectation that MPP improves health outcomes among patients suffering from chronic pain.

Keywords: chronic pain, persistent pain, multidisciplinary, utilization, cost of care, claims data

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