High-need patients spend up to four times more than the average American adult on health care services and prescription medications annually. Tailoring services to each individual’s needs could improve health care outcomes, effectively decreasing costs. Although high-need individuals make up only 5% of the population, they account for 50% of national health care expenditure. Improving care for this population is vital. Implementing an occupational therapist in the primary care process is one way to improve health for these individuals. Highly specialized care coordinators could also be beneficial for this population to coordinate services and medications, making sure there are not any complications that could arise. Another recommendation is multidisciplinary teams. It is also imperative to educate these patients on their various conditions. There are various routes to fix the problems this population faces. Most importantly, care should be coordinated, individualized, preventative, informative, and client-centered. Improving care for the high-need patients could be beneficial for more than just this population. The vast majority of high-needs patients are publicly insured, therefore Medicare and Medicaid expenditures would decrease at both state and national levels. Implementing these changes in the U.S. health care system could result in better health outcomes and decreased costs for the entire population.

Mentor Name

Kristen Renee Causey-Upton

Mentor Email


High Needs OOP Spending.png (48 kB)
Bar graph respresenting health care and out-of-pocket expenses for high-need adults vs. total adult populatoin and those with 3 or more chronic diseases

High Needs Hospital Stays.jpg (141 kB)
Bar graph representing emergency department visits and inpatient hospital discharges of high-need adults compared to total adult population and those with 3 or more chronic conditions