Understanding Disparities in Persons with Multiple Chronic Conditions: Research Approaches and Datasets. 4.1.2 Age

09/30/2013

As discussed previously, there is a temporal aspect to accumulating chronic conditions for patients; the longer a person lives the higher the probability of disease onset. Consequently, the older the person, the more likely they are to have MCC and the more conditions they are likely to have. Freid and colleagues
found over 24% difference in MCC prevalence rates between adults age 45-64 (21.0%) and 65 and older (45.3%) using the 2009-2010 National Health Interview Survey data (Freid et al., 2012).

Machlin and colleagues found that the number of inpatient stays and average expenditures for MCC patients did not necessarily increase with patient age. For example, average patient expenditures ranged from $22,911 for patients 18-44 years old, to $25,814 and $24,532 for patients 45-65 and 65 and older, respectively. This finding suggests that expenditures and utilization may be more related to the number of chronic conditions a person has than age.  However, more research is needed to better understand the impact of patient age in the MCC population.

A National Institute on Aging (NIA) council subcommittee recently completed a report on aging and health disparities (Perez-Stable et al. 2012). While the report did not discuss the need for MCC research per se, it called for more research on aging and disparities, and for the adoption of an integrated conceptual model for disparities research, which is multi-level, multi-sectorial, and multi-dimensional, and includes biological, behavioral and socio-economic elements.

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