Case management: a randomized controlled study comparing a neighborhood team and a centralized individual model.


This randomized controlled study compared two types of case management for skilled nursing level patients living at home: the centralized individual model and the neighborhood team model. The team model differed from the individual model in that team case managers performed client assessments, care planning, some direct services, and reassessments; they also had much smaller caseloads and were assigned a specific catchment area. While patients in both groups incurred very high estimated health services costs, the average annual cost during 1983-85 for team cases was 13.6 percent less than that of individual model cases. While the team cases were 18.3 percent less expensive among "old" patients (patients who entered the study from the existing ACCESS caseload), they were only 2.7 percent less costly among "new" cases. The lower costs were due to reductions in hospital days and home care. Team cases averaged 26 percent fewer hospital days per year and 17 percent fewer home health aide hours. Nursing home use was 48 percent higher for the team group than for the individual model group. Mortality was almost exactly the same for both groups during the first year (about 30 percent), but was lower for team patients during the second year (11 percent as compared to 16 percent). Probable mechanisms for the observed results are discussed.

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