KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Texas Rethinks Disease Management Program

Texas Tribune: Since 2004 Texas has run a disease management program they believed would improve care for Medicaid patients and save the state money. "The company said it would use persistent phone calls, a 24-hour hotline, and house visits if necessary to persuade Medicaid patients to take better care of themselves, saving the state an estimated $14 million a year in hospitalizations and other costs."

Texas went ahead with their program even though similar programs in many other states were not proven successful. "Those that improved care didn't always save money; those that saved money didn't always improve care. A 2004 study by the Congressional Budget Office fired a warning shot: It found 'insufficient evidence to conclude that disease management programs can generally reduce overall health spending.'"

A 2009 report states: "no conclusive evidence that [disease management] reduces overall costs and only limited evidence that it can improve quality of care for some conditions." But others say programs provide more value to patients, and "the health care reform Congress is considering will likely include more incentives for employers who provide the service." The Texas state legislature is still deciding whether or not to continue the disease management program (Ramshaw 3/12). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.