Reduce Alzheimer's-related hospitalizations prior to nursing home admission, researchers advise

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Healthcare providers should work on keeping Alzheimer's patients out of a hospital before they enter a nursing home, a new study suggests.

Investigators analyzed Medicare expenditures in three different phases of Alzheimer's disease care: post-diagnosis but before nursing home admission; permanent nursing home admission; and other nursing home time, which included the use of Medicare's hospice benefit.

According to the data collected between 1999 and 2007, Medicare paid out, on average, $29,743 per patient during hospitalizations for Alzheimer's and related disorders (ADRD). However, that figured dropped around $10,000 over a longer time period once the patient permanently entered a nursing home, Brown University researchers found.

Providers whose reimbursements will be grouped together within accountable care organizations will have an incentive to reduce hospitalizations, the study authors advised.

The study, which was conducted in collaboration with researchers from Pfizer, was published Tuesday in The American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias.

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