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Team Depression Treatment Cuts Total Senior Medical Costs
Date:2/6/2008

IMPACT Program Adopted at Kaiser Permanente of Southern California Study

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OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- A team approach to depression treatment, already shown to improve health, can also cut total health-care costs, according to a study co-authored by Kaiser Permanente and published in the February issue of the American Journal of Managed Care.

The results examine the effects of the multi-center IMPACT (Improving Mood -- Promoting Access to Collaborative Treatment for late life depression) care model on the long-term healthcare costs of 551 study participants from Kaiser Permanente of Southern California and Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, enrolled in collaboration with the University of Washington. Jurgen Unutzer, MD, of the University of Washington and his fellow researchers found that adults over age 60 who received a year of team care for depression had lower average costs for all of their health care over a four-year period -- about $3,300 less than patients receiving traditional depression care, even when the cost of the team care treatment is included.

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, services.

Based on its high effectiveness and cost-effectiveness, Kaiser Permanente of Southern California and Northern California, and several other major health organizations, already have implemented the IMPACT model and IMPACT-type models for depression care.

"Evidence-based models such as IMPACT provide an effective way to identify and treat people with depression, which is a terribly disabling condition," said study co-author Richard D. Della Penna, M.D., medical director of the Kaiser Permanente Aging Network and clinical lead of National Elder Care at the Kaiser Permanente Care Management Institute.
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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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