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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

South Florida Investigates Link between Quality and Cost of Health Care for Diabetic Patients

Are higher costs in health care for diabetes patients always associated with higher quality goods and services? Not necessarily, writes Dr. Troy Quast, in the June issue of the American Journal of Managed Care.

Troy Quast
[Photo: Dr. Troy Quast]

The publication, “Quality of Care and Relative Resource Use for Patients with Diabetes,” investigates the relationship between the quality of care and relative resource use of health plans in treating enrollees with diabetes, one of the most prevalent conditions in the United States.

“I find that better outcomes are, in fact, not always associated with higher costs, but that this association varies by the type of health insurance plan and geographic region,” said Dr. Quast, who will next month join the University of South Florida College of Public Health in the department of health policy and management.

Dr. Quast’s study consisted of 813 observations from a sample of 407 commercial health plans submitted to The National Committee for Quality Assurance from 2009 to 2011.

The study estimated correlations between quality of care and various relative resource use measures, as well as year-to-year changes in quality and relative resource use.

The findings suggest that quality and relative resource use are not necessarily positively related and that some resources might not be used efficiently. Furthermore, the study’s findings provide insight into the geographic variation in health care utilization.

An associate professor with research interests in health economics, Dr. Quast said that he’s very interested in looking into ways to obtain better outcomes for patients without incurring higher costs.

“My hope is that my study provides insight into contexts where this may be possible,” he said.