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Melvin Stephens

Long-term cost effects of collaborative care for late-life depression

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Unutzer, J., W.J. Katon, M.Y. Fan, Michael Schoenbaum, R.D. Della Penna, and D. Powers. 2008. "Long-term cost effects of collaborative care for late-life depression." American Journal of Managed Care, 14(2): 95-100.

Objective: To determine the long-term effects on total healthcare costs of the Improving Mood: Promoting Access to Collaborative Treatment (IMPACT) program for late-life depression compared with usual care. Study Design: Randomized controlled trial with enrollment from July 1999 through August 2001. The IMPACT trial, conducted in primary care practices in 8 delivery organizations across the United States, enrolled 1801 depressed primary care patients 60 years or older. Data are from the 2 IMPACT sites for which 4-year cost data were available. Trial enrollment across these 2 health maintenance organizations was 551 patients. Methods: Participants were randomly assigned to the IMPACT intervention (n = 279) or to usual primary care (n = 272). Intervention patients had access to a depression care manager who provided education, behavioral activation, support of antidepressant medication management prescribed by their regular primary care provider, and problem-solving treatment in primary care for up to 12 months. Care managers were supervised by a psychiatrist and a primary care provider. The main outcome measures were healthcare costs during 4 years. Results: IMPACT participants had lower mean total healthcare costs ($29 422; 95% confidence interval, $26 479-$32 365) than usual care patients ($32 785; 95% confidence interval, $27 648-$37 921) during 4 years. Results of a bootstrap analysis suggested an 87% probability that the IMPACT program was associated with lower healthcare costs than usual care. Conclusion: Compared with usual primary care, the IMPACT program is associated with a high probability of lower total healthcare costs during a 4-year period.

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