FAIR Health and Howard University Undertake Economic Study on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias under New Grant

August 17, 2023

FAIR Health, in collaboration with Academic Advisory Board member Jevay Grooms, PhD, of Howard University, is undertaking an economic study on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) under a pilot grant awarded by the Hopkins Economics of Alzheimer’s Disease & Services (HEADS) Center of the National Institute on Aging. The HEADS Center advances and implements new research on ADRD and is part of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Grants awarded by the HEADS Center are intended to identify the care needs of patients with ADRD and the economic consequences, as well as to examine the accessibility, quality, affordability and equity of ADRD care.

As part of the new study, “Understanding Gaps in Care and Reimbursement for Diverse Populations with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias: A Claims-Based Analysis,” Dr. Grooms and FAIR Health will examine claim dates of service from 2016 to 2022, utilizing Medicare data and commercial data from the FAIR Health National Private Insurance Claims (FH NPIC®) database, which houses over 42 billion claim records from 2002 to the present and is the largest such repository in the nation. Dr. Grooms and FAIR Health economic and data scientists will analyze the data to identify costs of ADRD care, establish incidence and prevalence of ADRD in patient populations and define patient populations by geographic region and other diverse demographic factors. Notably, the study’s time frame will allow for observations of patterns in ADRD care before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. This analysis is anticipated to provide actionable insights into the cost and utilization patterns of ADRD care and new healthcare models for diverse groups of patients with ADRD. It may also prompt further research into the financial impacts of care for diverse patient populations and caregivers. A public-facing paper describing the study results is expected to be published in the spring of 2024.

The study will leverage, and build on, prior experience and efforts undertaken by Dr. Grooms and FAIR Health. As Co-director of the Alzheimer’s Trial Recruitment Innovation Lab (ATRIL), Dr. Grooms has conducted research on diversity among patients with ADRD to identify areas of disparity. Dr. Grooms, Assistant Professor in the Economics Department of Howard University and Co-director of the Center for Equitable Economy and Sustainable Society (E2S2), focuses her research on the intersection of public economics, poverty and inequality, and health economics.

In leveraging FAIR Health’s data, the project will build on FAIR Health’s data analyses, which are relied upon by a diverse array of healthcare stakeholders, and consumer-oriented efforts to improve shared decision making and healthcare engagement among older adults and family caregivers. As part of a current initiative funded by The John A. Hartford Foundation, FAIR Health will generate awareness about its tools and resources for older adults that can facilitate healthcare engagement and shared decision making—the process by which patients, caregivers (if applicable) and providers decide on treatments and tests, balancing clinical evidence with patients’ preferences and values—with clinical and cost information for a set of conditions that affect older adults. The tools include a total treatment cost scenario that shows services and costs for a year of care for ADRD.

Of the new project, FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd said: “We are eager to undertake this groundbreaking work with Dr. Grooms. As the incidence and prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias continue to increase, it is especially critical to examine the economic and service trends and patterns related to these conditions so as to lay the groundwork for future research and development of new models of care that serve a range of patient populations.”

Dr. Grooms said: “Individual spending on ADRD treatment is still not well understood, especially in rural areas where treatment access varies. Studies like this one provide us with vital information regarding economic aspects of ADRD-related care for diverse patient populations.”