Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Increased Celiac Diagnosis can Reduce Health Care Costs

Findings from a recent study called "Economic Benefits of Increased Diagnosis of Celiac Disease in a National Managed Care Population in the United States" has some pretty interesting numbers I'd like to share with you. The study was published in this month's Journal of Insurance Medicine and was conducted by The Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center. Click here for an article from Medical News Today.

Dr. Peter Green and colleagues of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University along with CIGNA HealthCare, conducted the study using anonymous data collected from 1999 through 2003 on more than 10 million managed care patients in the U.S. They divided patients into four different groups: (1) newly diagnosed with Celiac disease, (2) one symptom of Celiac disease but no official diagnosis, (3) two symptoms of Celiac disease but no diagnosis, and (4) three Celiac disease symptoms but no diagnosis. The researchers then analyzed the costs of medical care between the four groups listed above. As shown below, the newly diagnosed had the highest costs right after diagnosis but then decreased once the correct diagnosis was made. The other groups of undiagnosed Celiacs had higher costs.

The study found that...
"...the mean medical cost in the 12 months before diagnosis was approximately $8500; it peaked at the time of diagnosis and one year after diagnosis at $12,000; then went down to an average of $7,400 in the two to three years afterward."
We all know the long list of associated symptoms and diseases that come with Celiac Disease. This study has now identified hard numbers to go along with the actual impact of undiagnosed CD to the health care system in the USA. Dr. Green says that the study clearly proves "there needs to be greater physician education in the various modes of presentation and manifestations of Celiac disease and more use of the widely available screening blood tests that detect the disease."

We also know that the average time for correct CD diagnosis in the US is about 10 years. This study proves that increased awareness and correct diagnosis (goals of this blog) will result in health care cost savings.

Click here to read the study.


Emily said...

Zach! Great post. Please keep up the good work, especially right now when we need to be discussing healthcare issues. Just keep talking. It's doing us all a world of good. Thank you!

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