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Migrant Clinicians Network’s Bridge Case Management Proven Cost Effective in Treating Tuberculosis

FEBRUARY 25, 2015 – Austin, TX – New research released today indicates that Health Network, the bridge case management program provided by Migrant Clinicians Network (MCN), is highly cost effective when assisting in the treatment and cure of latent tuberculosis (TB) infection in the US migrant population.

The findings are the result of a study from researchers with the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and Migrant Clinicians Network, a nonprofit dedicated to health justice at the intersection of migration, poverty, and health, based in Austin, Texas. The findings were presented today in a poster session at the 19th Annual Conference of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, North American Region in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

“For the first time, we’ve been able to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of a virtual bridge case management program for preventive TB infection treatment,” states Ed Zuroweste, MD, MCN’s Chief Medical Officer. Health Network assures continuity of care and treatment completion by providing comprehensive case management, medical records transfer, and follow-up services for mobile patients. The research evaluated data on Health Network patients from 2005 to 2012. It is the first known study to explore the cost effectiveness of bridge case management of TB services.

Researchers utilized MCN's actual budgetary and case management data, which closely tracks patient and related clinic interactions. They modeled a comparison group based on previously published data. Researchers also determined how many Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) were saved and the number of active TB cases that were averted via the bridge case management cohort, as it had above-average treatment completion and acceptance rates. They were then able to calculate the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios. The researchers concluded that Health Network's bridge case management is highly cost effective for mobile patients undergoing treatment for tuberculosis infection.

Globally, TB is responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million people each year. Two billion people are living with TB infection, and drug-resistant TB is increasing. In the US, at least 11 million people are living with TB infection, and 80 percent of active TB cases result from the reactivation of a TB infection.

The researchers recommend further study on the cost effectiveness of bridge case management for other conditions, such as HIV and diabetes. MCN’s Health Network currently provides bridge case management for HIV/AIDS, prenatal care, diabetes, and cancer.

ABOUT MCN: Migrant Clinicians Network is a nonprofit dedicated to health justice for the mobile poor, creating practical solutions at the intersection of poverty, migration, and health.