This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
COVID-19-Related Project Enhancement
Diabetes is a significant risk factor for severity of COVID-19 symptoms and death from the disease. This project’s enhancement will compare outcomes for people with type 2 diabetes who have at least one additional chronic disease and are covered by Medicare. The study team will compare receiving telehealth versus not receiving telehealth, including subgroups that use in-person visits exclusively or do not have any office visits or care during the pandemic.
The study will emphasize differences in clinical care coordination and service utilization by race and age for patients infected by COVID-19 and those who were not. Louisiana is an appropriate study environment given the state’s high burden of diabetes, the enhanced disparities among African Americans, and its status as one of the earlier epicenters of the pandemic in the United States.
Enhancement Award Amount: $421,609
What is the research about?
People with diabetes often have other health problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or liver disease. Having more than one disease can make them all more difficult to manage. Patients often need multiple medicines to control their health problems. Healthcare providers may need to spend extra time planning care for these patients, working with their other doctors, and following up with patients online or by phone. Time spent planning and coordinating care outside of regular office visits for patients with several health problems is called chronic care management. Starting in 2015, providers can get paid for the time they spend managing Medicare patients’ care needs outside of normal office visits. Because this change is recent, researchers don’t know how hard or easy it is for providers to deliver these types of services. Researchers also don’t know whether paying providers for these types of services results in better health for patients with diabetes who also have other health problems.
Who can this research help?
This research can help policy makers and groups that pay for health care understand whether paying doctors for chronic care management services makes a difference in patients’ health.
What is the research team doing?
The research team is working with health clinics in Louisiana for this study. First, the research team wants to know what makes it harder or easier for healthcare providers to spend time on chronic care management. To find out, the research team is interviewing healthcare providers who work at clinics in the study and treat patients with diabetes. The research team is also interviewing patients who have diabetes and get care at one of the clinics. Additionally, they are interviewing clinic directors to learn more about how clinics spend extra time planning and managing care for patients with diabetes and other health problems.
The research team wants to find out if patients who have diabetes and other health problems have better health when their providers are paid for spending extra time to coordinate care outside of office visits. The team is reviewing medical records for these patients over a nine-year period. They are also sending surveys about overall health to patients in the study. The researchers are looking at
- Whether patients have a change in blood sugar level
- Whether clinics use the payment code for planning care
- How often patients use healthcare services
- Patients’ experience with chronic care management
Research methods at a glance
The Natural Experiments Network: A Collaborative Initiative