Chronic Disease Management in Rural Areas: Examination of Medicare and Medicaid Managed Care Programs

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Project completed:
December 2004
Rural populations show higher incidence of disease in a number of areas including heart disease, respiratory disease, disability associated with chronic health conditions, and obesity. Disease management (DM) is an appropriate tool to coordinate care and improve health outcomes for such populations and to reduce needs for more costly care. DM, however, has been most widely utilized in urban settings where it is promoted by large health plans interested in efficiently reaching large numbers of enrollees to reduce costs of care while improving outcomes. The goal of this project was to advance knowledge of the use of DM to address chronic conditions among rural populations. Of particular interest is information from participating health plans and providers about special challenges and effective strategies in DM initiatives targeting rural populations. Based on analysis of this information, the project team identified issues of public policy and service management that can advance effective DM for rural populations.

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