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Alzheimer's Misdiagnoses Significantly Increase Medicare Costs

Posted on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 2:42 PM

Recent findings published in the July issue of Alzheimer's and Dementia found that Medicare beneficiaries who received a misdiagnosis of Alzheimer's accumulated between $9,500 and $14,000 in additional medical costs each year until they were correctly diagnosed. Researchers concluded that new diagnostic technologies that give earlier, more accurate diagnosis of non-Alzheimer's related dementias could help patients avoid unnecessary medical procedures and save Medicare money. Researchers collected data on Medicare enrollment, use of medical resources and associated payments to providers. About 1 in 6 patients studied were incorrectly diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease before receiving a vascular dementia diagnosis. Approximately 1 in 12 patients studied were also incorrectly diagnosed with Alzheimer's before being diagnosed for Parkinson's. Patients with vascular dementia or Parkinson's who were misdiagnosed with Alzheimer's had between 64% and 221% more skilled nursing facility visits, and between 13% and 56% more home healthcare days. Additionally, misdiagnosed patients also had more inpatient days, more ER visits and more physician visits than their correctly diagnosed counterparts. Click here to read the study. Click here to read more.

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