The National Minority Quality Forum, a research and educational organization in support of initiatives to eliminate health disparities, has undertaken a series of studies to develop and examine a new paradigm for "knowing the Medicare beneficiary." A series of three publications analyzing Medicare claims data over a six-year period will focus on better understanding the utilization of products and services by Medicare beneficiaries with chronic diseases such as diabetes—and the impact that underutilization has on health outcomes and overall program costs. The first analysis focuses broadly on chronic disease, with subsequent analyses centered specifically on a cohort of Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes.
The project explores how examination of health risks and cost outcomes can help address the long-term Medicare funding challenge the United States faces. By understanding the consumption patterns of Medicare beneficiaries, the U.S. can build a 21st century health care system that is patient-centered, proactive and capable of bringing a calculable return on investment.
Diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from the body's inability to produce and/or use insulin. Insulin works to convert food into energy needed for daily life.3