Long-Term Medical Care Utilization and Costs Among Traumatic Brain Injury Survivors

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Abstract

Objective:

To examine billing patterns and predictors of healthcare utilization and costs associated with traumatic brain injury.

Design:

Retrospective cohort study of healthcare billings for 63 survivors of traumatic brain injury, over a 19-mo period, using a state-sponsored Medicaid program. The relationship of indicators of injury severity and disability to billings and payments was investigated. Mean age at time of injury was 33 yrs. Mean highest Glasgow Coma Scale rating immediately after brain injury was 8.

Results:

A total of $795,635 was billed to Medicaid for 3,950 services and medications used. A total of $281,897 was paid for these billings out of the Medicaid account studied. Billings were used for statistical analyses, as they were considered the most stable indicator of cost. Motor deficits at discharge from inpatient rehabilitation (FIM™ motor score) showed inverse relationships to total billings (rho = −0.42, P < 0.001), subcategories of billings reflecting equipment and supplies (rho = -.26, P = 0.020), and outpatient billings (rho = −0.27, P = 0.015). Change in FIM motor scores during inpatient rehabilitation was inversely associated with billings (rho = −0.40). Change in FIM motor scores provided unique information in predicting utilization after accounting for demographic characteristics and severity of injury.

Conclusions:

Motor disability and improvement during inpatient rehabilitation were significant predictors of billings after traumatic brain injury. Initial severity of brain injury was not a significant factor in utilization.

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