New Study Finds Personalized Preventive Care Achieves Definitive Cost Savings

February 24, 2016

A new study found that members of a MD-Value In Prevention (MDVIP) program—a primary care model based on personalized preventive care— had lower health care utilization costs 3 years after adoption.

The study, published in the February 2016 issue of Population Health Management, aimed to evaluate the impact on health care usage and expense trends for patients participating in the program.

Health care utilization and expenditure trends were tracked for 10,186 MDVIP members identified from UnitedHealthcare employer-sponsored health plan databases using 2009–2014 enrollment files provided by MDVIP and randomly selected, matched nonmembers, also selected from the UnitedHealthcare employer-sponsored health plan database. Inclusion criteria for the MDVIP group included being between the ages of 35 to 84 years and having coverage 3 months prior to MDVIP enrollment and a minimum of 3 months and up to 36 months following MDVIP enrollment during the years 2009–2014. A multivariate model was used to control for demographics, socioeconomics, supply of health care services, and health status.

Average medical and pharmacy member expenditures increased by $85.63 PMPM in year 1, by $29.16 PMPM in year 2, and by $2.17 in year 3 from baseline. So while the initial costs during year 1 were higher, by the third year, the MDVIP program indicated a trend toward breaking even. According to the study, by year 3 the expenditures for members and nonmembers were similar.

“To demonstrate cost ramifications of better health management, the research team tracked the percentage of members who achieved at least $150 PMPM in savings (based on the average membership fee of about $150 PMPM),” the study said “In year 1, 24% of individuals met this success measure; in year 2, 26%; and in year 3, 63% met this minimum savings amount with most members (about 30%) saving between $150–$299 PMPM and an additional 16% saving between $300–$499 PMPM. In contrast to average health care expenditures for a population, percentages of those who meet a defined success measure (eg, exceeding the membership fee costs) provide an additional indication of the successful penetration of program impact among member subgroups.”

The study found that older age groups realized savings earlier on, while younger members were more likely to see savings by the third year.

MD-Value in Prevention (MDVIP) is a network of affiliated primary care physicians who focus on preventive health care through hour long appointments. MDVIP believes that spending more time on prevention and wellness will lead to an overall better health status and lower hospital utilization resulting in lower costs.

According to the study, there are more than 700 affiliated physicians practicing in the model and more than 250,000 patients nationally. Patients pay a monthly fee of $125 to $170 to have access to the health screenings for depression, anxiety, sleep, nutrition, sexual function, vision, and hearing; diagnostics screenings for diabetes, bone disease, and cardiovascular disease; and personalized coaching and online tools. Practices are limited to 600 patients per physician, which, according to the study, allows members to provide same or next day appointments as well as be available 24 hours a day by phone, e-mail, or text. On average, members are 66 years old and more than half are also enrolled in employer-funded health plans.

To read the full study, click here.