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Team treatment for depression cuts medical costs
Date:2/6/2008

e IMPACT team-care model, said Dr. Jurgen Unutzer, professor and vice-chair of psychiatry and director of the IMPACT Implementation Center at the UW. This research, combined with our other work showing how team care for depression has significant health benefits for older adults, illustrates how important it is for health organizations to consider implementing evidence-based collaborative models of depression care, such as IMPACT.

The cost of using the IMPACT model of depression care treatment is only about $500 per year for each patient a modest investment compared to the total medical costs of about $8,000 per year for an older adult with depression. When spread out over an entire population of older adults, the cost of offering IMPACT as a health care benefit amounts to about $1 per person per month.

Based on its high effectiveness and cost-effectiveness, several major health organizations have already implemented the IMPACT model for depression care, including Kaiser Permanente of Southern California, which serves more than 3 million people in its 12 regional medical centers. In the Seattle area, Virginia Mason Medical Center will begin rolling out IMPACT to patients in their primary care clinics over the next few months. The John A. Hartford Foundation is supporting the efforts of Unutzer and his colleagues to help these and other health-care systems around the country adapt and implement IMPACT.

A cheaper, more effective method of treating clinical depression in older adults has become more important in recent years, as physicians have learned that the condition affects not only the mental health but also the physical health of millions of patients and helps drive up health-care costs. Studies estimate that 5 to 10 percent of older adults seen in primary care suffer from clinical depression. The condition is associated with a bevy of other medical problems, including more suffering and physical pain, decreases in physical ability and self-care of
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Contact: Justin Reedy
jreedy@u.washington.edu
206-685-0382
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert

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