SAN FRANCISCO -- Mayo Clinic researchers have found that bipolar disorder is more costly than other chronic conditions such as diabetes, depression, asthma or coronary artery disease. These findings are based on a review of health care claim costs. Specialty care costs (the costs of seeing any specialist and all tests ordered) were especially higher for bipolar patients. Results of this review are being presented today at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in San Francisco.
"Psychiatric care costs represented only a portion of the specialty care costs for these chronic conditions," explains Mark Williams, M.D., a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist and lead researcher. "This suggests that many of the specialty costs for bipolar patients are not directly related to seeing a mental health provider."
A data review of health care claims over a four-year period, showed patients with bipolar disorder had significantly higher total per member per month costs compared with patients who had the other conditions. Only patients with both coronary artery disease and diabetes had higher costs than patients with bipolar disorder. Total costs, specialty care visits, specialty care costs, outpatient psychiatric costs, and outpatient psychiatric visits were compared. "The goal of this study is to drive practice changes that improve the efficiency and value of care for bipolar disorder with hopes to improve care while reducing costs," explains Dr. Williams.
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