Medical utilization and cost outcomes for poststroke veterans who receive assistive technology devices from the Veterans Health Administration.
The study objectives were to (1) advance understanding of the relationship between provision of assistive technology devices (ATDs) and healthcare consumption and outcomes in a system that does not limit provision of ATDs to in-home use and (2) determine how the provision of ATDs relates to inpatient/outpatient utilization and costs of services for veterans 12 months poststroke when controlling for case-mix. This was a retrospective study using Department of Veterans Affairs administrative/workload databases to identify 12,046 veterans with stroke during fiscal years 2001 and 2002. Measures were functional gain, inpatient days, outpatient visits, and inpatient and outpatient costs during the first year poststroke. Motor gain for veterans receiving ATDs was higher than for veterans not receiving ATDs (20 vs 9 Functional Independence Measure points, p < 0.001). Provision of a low-end manual wheelchair was associated with increased inpatient days and costs (both p < 0.001). Provision of a power wheelchair was associated with increased inpatient (p = 0.03) and outpatient costs (p < 0.001). Provision of a scooter was associated with increased outpatient visits and outpatient costs (both p < 0.001). Scooters, walking aids, and power wheelchairs were associated with increased outpatient visits, perhaps functioning as outpatient/community enablers.
Hubbard Winkler, SL; Wu, S; Cowper Ripley, DC; Groer, S; Hoenig, H
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