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JAMA study finds comprehensive dementia care to be cost effective

According to a December 2018 JAMA study, comprehensive dementia care may reduce the number of admissions to long-term care facilities, and depending on program costs, may be cost neutral or cost saving.

The study states that an estimated 4 to 5 million Americans have Alzheimer disease or another dementia, and sought to determine if comprehensive dementia care programs for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries resulted in lower costs.

Researchers focus on beneficiaries of the University of California Los Angeles Health System Alzheimer and Dementia care program between 2012 and 2015. Compared to those not in a dementia care program, dementia program beneficiaries were less likely to enter a long-term care facility; however, there was no difference between the two groups in terms of hospitalizations or emergency room visits. The dementia program group cost Medicare, on average $601 less per patient each quarter.

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