A cost analysis of outpatient care for patients with Barrett's esophagus in a managed care setting.
OBJECTIVES: Although Barrett's esophagus (BE) may be associated with severe gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), there are currently no studies that evaluate resource utilization in Barrett's patients. The aims of this study were 1) to determine the cost and number of endoscopies and clinic visits to the GI clinic for GERD or its complications in patients with BE; 2) to determine the pattern and cost of medication use in patients with BE; and 3) to compare medication use by patients with BE to that of patients with insulin-requiring diabetes mellitus (DM). METHODS: Using the cost distribution report data and the pharmacy acquisition costs from the Durham VAMC, we calculated the monthly cost of endoscopies, clinic visits related to GERD, and medication use in 53 patients with BE between 1/1/94 and 1/1/97. We also calculated the average cost of medication use for 55 patients with insulin-requiring DM. RESULTS: All patients with BE were male. Their median age was 64.0 yr (IQR 57-68). Of them, 92% were white; 23% had low-grade dysplasia (LGD). Patients with LGD were more likely to have more than three endoscopies in 3 yr than were those with no LGD (OR 6.3, 95% CI 1.11-35.67). There was no difference in clinic visits in the patients with and without dysplasia (OR 0.335, 95% CI 0.093-1.206). A total of 139 endoscopies and 172 clinic visits were observed. Outpatient care for patients with BE costs approximately $103/month or $1241/yr. Endoscopies and clinic visits accounted for 31.1% and 5.9% of the monthly medical cost, respectively. Medications accounted for 63% of the total cost of care. Prokinetic agents accounted for 0.8% of the total cost of medications, whereas histamine receptor antagonists (H2 blockers) and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) accounted for 34.6% and 64.6%, respectively. Medication cost per month in patients with BE was approximately $65, similar to that of patients with insulin-requiring DM ($63). CONCLUSIONS: Our conclusions were as follows: 1) Outpatient care for patients with BE costs approximately $1241/yr or ($103/month). 2) Medication use per month accounted for more than half of the total cost; PPIs accounted for 64.6% of total medication cost, suggesting that reflux was severe. 3) Consistent with current surveillance strategies, patients with LGD had more frequent endoscopy than patients with no dysplasia. 4) Medication cost per month in patients with BE is similar to that in patients with DM, another group with a chronic disorder. 5) Those who make health policy can use these results to compare the cost of care of patients with BE to the cost for those with other chronic medical disorders.
Eloubeidi, MA; Homan, RK; Martz, MD; Theobald, KE; Provenzale, D
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