• GPHA www.jgpha.com 153 Georgia Public Health Association Impact of the Georgia Charitable Care Network on cost savings from lowering blood pressure and decreasing emergency department use

      Corso, Phaedra; Walcott, Rebecca; Ingels, Justin; University of Georgia (Journal of the Georgia Public Health Association, 2015)
      Background: The Georgia Charitable Care Network (GCCN) is a non-profit organization whose primary mission is to foster collaborative partnerships to deliver compassionate health care to low-income, uninsured individuals. Hypertension screening and management is a service provide by 90+ clinics in the GCCN statewide. Methods: With data from N=1661 patients who were screened and treated for hypertension at n=12 clinics in 2013, the impact of hypertension management on blood pressure levels, the incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke, and utilization of emergency departments (EDs) were examined. The resulting changes in healthcare utilization were converted to changes in healthcare costs and compared to the expenditures for clinics providing screening and treatment services to the same population over a one-year period. Results: Patients with an initial diagnosis of hypertension or prehypertension experienced average reductions of 10.27 mmHg and 6.32 mmHg in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively, during their follow-up visits. These changes were associated with 32.0% and 44.3% reductions in the relative risk of CHD and stroke, respectively. The savings from this reduction in blood pressure and avoided ED visits for 1661 hypertensive patients produced positive net benefits in 2013 US$, of more than $400,000, with a benefit-cost ratio of 1.6. Conclusions: For every dollar invested in GCCN clinics for hypertension screening and management, there is a benefit to the healthcare system through reduced costs of $1.60. GCCN clinics are a cost-saving delivery model for underserved communities with poor health status and high ED usage.