The trusted source for
healthcare information and
Thanks to shorter hospital stays, there has been a 3.4% decrease in the per capita cost of asthma care. However, the costs actually rose by 2.9% for those over age 18; for children the figure was down, resulting in the overall decrease. Kevin B. Weiss, MD, of Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional cost-of-illness analysis of National Center for Health Statistics data for the years 1985 and 1994. The article appeared in the September 2000 Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Total asthma costs in the United States in 1994 reached $10.7 billion, compared with nearly $4.5 billion in 1985. In 1985, hospital inpatient costs comprised 44.6% of direct medical expenditures. By 1994, this proportion had dropped to 29.5% "primarily because of shorter lengths of stays, as opposed to a decrease in the total number of admissions," the authors wrote.
In 1994, medication costs accounted for 40.1% of direct medical expenditures compared with 30.0% in 1995. According to the researchers, the largest component of indirect costs was lost time from work. After adjustment asthma costs fell by 15.5% for children and rose by 2.9% for those over 18, resulting in the overall 3.4% cost decrease per affected person.
Among possible reasons for this "modest decline" in asthma costs, the researchers posit, may be "a combination of reductions in hospital lengths of stay and increasing prevalence of persons with low consumption of asthma-related health care resources."
For more information on asthma, contact: American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, 611 E. Wells St., Milwaukee, WI 53202. Telephone: (414) 272-6071. Fax: (414) 272-6070.