DESIGN: Incurred claims and stratified randomized patient surveys were analyzed for clinical outcomes, cost offsets, and member satisfaction compared with normative values. Comparative blinded data, using nonrandomized matched comparison groups, was analyzed for age/sex demographics and disease profiles to examine sample bias.
SETTING: An integrative medicine independent provider association (IPA) contracted with a National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)-accredited health maintenance organization (HMO) in metropolitan Chicago.
SUBJECTS: All members enrolled with the integrative medicine IPA from January 1, 1999 through December 31, 2002.
RESULTS: Analysis of clinical and cost outcomes on 21,743 member months over a 4-year period demonstrated decreases of 43.0% in hospital admissions per 1000, 58.4% hospital days per 1000, 43.2% outpatient surgeries and procedures per 1000, and 51.8% pharmaceutical cost reductions when compared with normative conventional medicine IPA performance for the same HMO product in the same geography over the same time frame.
CONCLUSION: In the limited population studied, PCPs utilizing an integrative medical approach emphasizing a variety of CAM therapies had substantially improved clinical outcomes and cost offsets compared with PCPs utilizing conventional medicine alone. While certainly promising, these initial results may not be consistent on a larger and more diverse population.
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