Medicaid plans, whose patients often have complex medical, social, and behavioral needs, seek tools to effectively manage enrollees and improve access to quality care while containing costs.
The aim of this study is to examine the effects of an integrated case management (ICM) program operated by a Medicaid managed care plan on health service use and spending for nonelderly, nonpregnant adults.
We estimate the relationship between intensity of ICM program involvement and changes in utilization and spending for patients who participated in ICM. We examine whether effects differ between high-risk and lower-risk individuals and between the early and late stages of the program, given that the latter relied on more targeted and patient-centered approaches. Specifically, we estimate linear regressions modeling changes in utilization and spending outcomes as a function of number of program contacts, conditional on number of days over which contacts occurred, as well as individual-level covariates and case manager fixed effects.
In the late ICM program period, we observe significant decreases in outpatient utilization associated with program involvement intensity among high-risk ICM participants. We also observe decreases in spending associated with program involvement intensity among the lower-risk group in the late period, although there is no significant impact on spending among high-risk enrollees.
ICM can be a successful strategy for impacting health services use and spending. Our findings suggest that careful program targeting, well-structured client engagement, and direct one-on-one contact are vitally important for achieving program objectives.