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Cardiovascular Health and Healthcare Utilization and Expenditures Among Medicare Beneficiaries: The REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study [Health Services and Outcomes Research]

BackgroundBetter cardiovascular health is associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk.Methods and ResultsWe determined the association between cardiovascular health and healthcare utilization and expenditures in the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. We included 6262 participants ≥65 years with Medicare fee‐for‐service coverage for the year after their baseline study visit in 2003‐2007. Cardiovascular health at baseline was assessed using the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 (LS7) metric, which includes 7 factors: cigarette smoking, physical activity, diet, body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose. Healthcare utilization and expenditures were ascertained using Medicare claims in the year following baseline. Overall, 17.2%, 31.1%, 29.0%, 16.4% and 6.4% of participants had 0 to 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 to 7 ideal LS7 factors, respectively. The multivariable‐adjusted relative risk (95% confidence interval [CI]) for having any inpatient and outpatient encounters comparing participants with 5 to 7 versus 0 to 1 ideal LS7 factors were 0.55 (0.39, 0.76) and 1.00 (0.98, 1.02), respectively. Among participants with 0 to 1 and 5 to 7 ideal LS7 factors, mean inpatient expenditures were $3995 and $1250, respectively, mean outpatient expenditures were $5166 and $2853, respectively, and mean total expenditures were $9147 and $4111, respectively. After multivariable adjustment, the mean (95% CI) cost difference comparing participants with 5 to 7 versus 0 to 1 ideal LS7 factors was −$2551 (−$3667, −$1435) for inpatient, −$2410 (−$3089, −$1731) for outpatient, and −$5016 (−$6577, −$3454) for total expenditures.ConclusionsBetter cardiovascular health is associated with lower risk for inpatient encounters and lower inpatient and outpatient healthcare expenditures.

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