Study: Fall prevention programs cut costs

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Fall prevention programs may help Medicare beneficiaries save money on hospitalizations and skilled nursing facility care, a new study has found.

The study analyzed data from more than 6,000 Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in the fall prevention program A Matter of Balance, an eight-week group program that helps reduce the fear of falling and help seniors change their environments to reduce fall risks.

Results showed that Matter of Balance participation led to average cost savings of $938 per person over the course of a year. Broken down by service, the program was associated with saving beneficiaries around $517 for unplanned hospitalizations, followed by an average of $234 for skilled nursing facility care and $81 for home health care.

The study's authors say the results show that participating in a Matter of Balance, or a similar fall prevention program, has the potential to reduce Medicare costs associated with falls. Results of the study appear in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. Wednesday was national Falls Prevention Awareness Day.