Study: AZ Medicaid cost-cutting has resulted in higher costs

Study: AZ Medicaid cost-cutting has resulted in higher costs

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - When Arizona cut out podiatry care from the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), Arizona's version of Medicaid, there was fear among health care providers that it would lead to higher costs, especially for patients who have diabetes.

A new study says it has led to huge increases in charges since it was implemented in 2010.

In fact, University of Arizona College of Medicine researchers found that for every AHCCCS dollar saved there was a "remarkable" $44 increase in costs of care.

UA Professor of Surgery Dr. David Armstrong says there was a 50% increase in severe outcomes. That's death, amputation, sepsis and surgical complications.

The study found a 38% increase in hospital admissions for diabetic foot infections, a 45% increase in charges for those admissions, and a 29% increase in length of hospital stay.

Armstrong notes a worsening of patient care for patients with diabetes.

He says Medicaid cost-cutting appears to have resulted in unintended consequences, particularly among the poor and under-served.

The research was presented at the 73rd scientific sessions of the American Diabetes Association Symposium in Chicago.

Tucson News Now's Barbara Grijalva can be followed on Twitter at @BGrijalvaKOLD.

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