Montreal, September 15, 2008 In a retrospective analysis of more than 30,000 female Medicare patients 65 years and older, osteoporosis fractures resulted in fracture-related medical expenses of $15,522 per person over three years. The study, presented at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) 30th Annual Meeting, is the first to analyze the actual long-term fracture-related medical expenses incurred over a three-year period using a U.S. medical claims database.
Medicare costs were evaluated for successive six-month periods following a fracture. Each period was compared to the six months prior to the initial fracture to determine the excess fracture-related expenses. Nearly a quarter of the total additional medical costs were incurred beyond the first six months of acute care. Patients with wrist, hip, humerus, and clavicle fractures incurred excess medical costs continuously over each six month period of the three-year follow-up.
"The medical needs resulting from an osteoporotic fracture extend well beyond simply caring for the broken bone," said Diana Brixner, RPh, PhD, Executive Director of the Pharmacotherapy Outcomes Research Center, University of Utah Health Sciences Center. "Beyond the acute care needs, long-term care as a result of the fracture is the next largest expense, but other health problems such as pain, disability, and depression related to the fracture can occur and also contribute to the expanded medical expenses."
The majority of patients (64 percent) were not treated for osteoporosis during the three years following their fracture, despite being at high risk for suffering another fracture. Fourteen percent of patients experienced another fracture during the three-year follow-up period, contributing an additional $16,872 per patient in Medicare medical expenses. The average time before occurrence of the subsequent fracture was approximately 13 months. Nonvertebral fractures accounted f
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