Rural Pennsylvania Geisinger Clinic Tracks Nutrition Problems Among the Elderly

Screening and intervention for nutrition problems among rural elderly enrollees

From 1995 to 1996, staff at Geisinger Clinic, a nonprofit physician group practice serving northeastern and central Pennsylvania, screened more than 5,000 of its elderly, mostly rural enrollees to identify those at high risk for nutritional deficiency.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Chronic Care Initiatives in HMOs national program.

Key Findings

  • Females were slightly more likely than males to exceed thresholds for both over- and under-nutrition.

  • About 16 percent of Medicare-insured enrollees had gained or lost 10 pounds over a six-month period.

  • Median health care charges per member month were $155 for those who reported a weight change, compared with $109 for those who did not.