Consistent Primary Care for Children Cuts Hospital Use

Children in the Medicaid population who receive consistent primary care over the course of more than 2 years in an accountable care organization (ACO) are less likely to require inpatient care than those without continuous involvement in a primary care practice, according to results of a study published online December 14 in JAMA Pediatrics.

In addition, the annual costs are lower for those receiving consistent care.

"Consistent primary care among the pediatric Medicaid population is challenging, but these findings suggest substantial benefits if consistency can be improved," write Eric W. Christensen, PhD, and Nathaniel R. Payne, MD, from the Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

To assess the association between the length of ACO attribution, a proxy for receiving consistent primary care, and the use and cost of healthcare resources in a pediatric Medicaid population, the investigators conducted a retrospective study of Medicaid claims data for nearly 29,000 patients who had been attributed to a pediatric ACO for at least 1 month, from September 1, 2013, to May 31, 2015.

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