- The integration of podiatric services could enhance chronic care management, improve health outcomes, reduce healthcare costs, and ultimately benefit the shift toward value-based care, according to a study commissioned by the New York State Podiatric Medical Association (NYSPMA).
Researchers conducted a data analysis and literature review of podiatric interventions and their effect on diabetes, obesity, back pain, and fall prevention care.
These conditions have a significant impact on New York residents. NYSPMA noted that approximately two million New Yorkers have diabetes, 25 percent of whom develop foot ulcers.
Twenty-five percent of New York adults and 14 percent of New York children are obese, and 20 percent of the state’s population suffers from back pain.
Researchers found that for diabetic patients with foot ulcers, podiatric services had the potential to reduce approximately 13,500 inpatient admissions annually and could save the healthcare industry nearly $510 million in diabetes costs.
In obese patients, podiatric treatment could reduce subsequent inpatient admissions by approximately 19 percent and save almost $1.1 billion in healthcare costs.
Among patients with back pain and podiatric-related pain diagnosis, researchers found that podiatric services could reduce the odds of opioid dispensation by 28 percent.
Podiatric interventions could also reduce falls for the elderly and at-risk populations by 36 percent.
NYSPMA commissioned the study in response to New York State’s Medicaid reform, which aims to develop projects that will improve health outcomes, decrease costs, and move towards value-based payment models.
As part of their reform, New York is implementing the State Health Innovation Plan, a roadmap that outlines how to boost health outcomes through primary care integration and other initiatives.
The state also plans to implement the New York State Prevention Agenda, which will focus on improving care and increasing preventive services for multiple conditions including diabetes, obesity, substance abuse, and back pain.
NYSPMA stated that podiatric service coverage is currently limited under New York Medicaid, and podiatry is not at the forefront of policy discussions for private payer and provider groups.
However, this study shows that podiatry could be a valuable part of healthcare transformation. It also demonstrates the importance of specialist care in the treatment of chronic conditions and population health management.
Specialty services like podiatry target the holistic treatment of a patient, rather than just treating the symptoms, the NYSPMA stated. The result is better, more comprehensive treatment for patients living with chronic conditions.
“Our findings indicate that expanding podiatry’s role in the New York healthcare landscape may reduce inpatient admissions, lower long-term healthcare costs and decrease opioid dispensing for target populations,” NYSPMA said.
The NYSPMA asserted that it will be vital for podiatrists to develop relationships with payers and other providers as healthcare continues to shift toward value-based care.
“Podiatric intervention is a key component of effectively managing chronic conditions and improving quality of life for New Yorkers,” said Paul J. Liswood, DPM, NYSPMA President-Elect and a Brooklyn-based podiatrist.
“As New York podiatrists, it is our mission to educate New Yorkers about how the expansion of podiatry’s role in the New York healthcare landscape can positively impact the whole person while reducing healthcare costs.”