Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is a complex inflammatory disease affecting the nose and sinuses of an estimated 5% of Canadians and 2-16% of the US population. CRS results in a marked decrease in an affected person’s quality of life and in their work productivity. CRS commonly results in long-term impairment and for some even disability. With the current international climate of health policy reform, it has become increasingly important to understand the economic burden, or cost to society, of diseases. Given how common CRS is and its impacts on the individual and society, it is important that the cost of treatment for this disease be well understood by all stakeholders.
In a study recently published in The Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology (JACI), a Canadian research group used the most recent (2011) US Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) data to evaluate the direct costs of providing CRS care from the payer perspective. The authors used four accepted methods of direct cost estimation in order to avoid the potential bias of a single estimation method. Further, the authors utilized the CRS disease prevalence in the MEPS population when presenting direct costs to mitigate the bias of choosing an arbitrary prevalence estimate.
The researchers found that the estimated prevalence of CRS in the most up to date MEPS survey panel was 3.5%. Depending on the cost estimation method that was used, the direct cost of CRS treatment per individual ranged from $5,560 to $5,955 USD per year. In 2011, this resulted in an expenditure of $60.2 to 64.5 billion USD for the treatment of patients with CRS. This total expense accounted for 4.5 to 4.8% of the overall expenditures for US health care. Further, the upper limit of the incremental national expenditure due to CRS was estimated at 12.5 billion USD. This constituted 0.94% of the total US health care budget for 2011. This estimate is nearly one third higher ($4 billion USD) to the most recent annual estimate (2007) of 8.6 billion USD for CRS care.
The authors showed that this complex chronic inflammatory disease, CRS, has a high economic burden that continues to rise substantially and that the burden of CRS on annual health care budgets has been previously underestimated. These study results aid CRS advocates, policy makers and other stakeholders alike to understand the direct costs of CRS treatment.
Prepared by: Shaun Kilty, MD, Assistant Professor, University of Ottawa
Article: Caulley L, Thavorn K, Rudmik L, Cameron C, Kilty SJ. Direct costs of adult chronic rhinosinusitis by using 4 methods of estimation: Results of the US Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015 Dec;136(6):1517-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2015.08.037. Epub 2015 Oct 21.
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