Emily writes to let me know that there is a new study that looks at an integrated approach to depression among elders.
Published in the February issue of the American Journal of Managed Care,
the results examine the long-term effects of the IMPACT (Improving Mood –
Promoting Access to Collaborative Treatment for Late Life Depression) care
model on the health care costs of 551 study participants at Kaiser
Permanente of South California and Group Health Cooperative of Puget
Sound, enrolled in cooperation with the University of Washington.
The IMPACT treatment model features a depression-care manager (a nurse,
social worker or psychologist) who works with the primary care physician
and a consulting psychiatrist to care for depressed patients in their
primary care clinic. An earlier study, in the Dec. 11, 2003, Journal of
American Medical Association, shows that the model provides powerful
overall health benefits.
Why this study is important:
· Clinical depression affects about 3 million older adults in the
United States and is associated with 50 to 70 percent higher health care
expenses, mostly due to an increased use of medical, not mental health,
· Over a four-year period, patients enrolled in the IMPACT study
had over $3,000 lower total health care costs than those in usual care,
including the roughly $500 cost of the IMPACT depression care program.
· Costs in every category (inpatient and outpatient medical and
mental health services, and total pharmacy costs) were lower in the
patients who were assigned to IMPACT.