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Health Care Costs - Significant for Abused Women

specialists visits; and 27 percent more prescription refills. They were also more likely to use services in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, hospital outpatient care, emergency department care, and acute inpatient care during and after periods of IPV.
· Health care utilization was still 20 percent higher five years after women's abuse ceased compared to women who had never experienced IPV.
· The estimated excess costs to the health plan due to IPV are approximately $19.3 million per year for every 100,000 women enrollee aged 18–64. This estimate is based on prevalence for IPV of 44 percent - a figure established in a study the Group Health/UW team published in 2005.

While previous studies have shown increased health care costs and utilization among women abused by their partners, this is the first study to determine how those factors relate to the time of abuse. The study avoided limitations of previous studies by analyzing a random sample from a large health plan that was representative of the community.

In addition, the researchers studied documented medical and cost records rather than relying solely the women's own reports. Also, the study had data on the women's care over an average of seven years.

"When coupled with our previous work, this study helps to complete the picture of IPV as it is encountered in health care delivery," says Thompson, whose research team published papers in 2006 on the prevalence and health effects of IPV. "IPV is common, chronic, and produces negative effects on women's physical and mental health that are as severe as cancer or diabetes, and that add an enormous economic burden to health care systems. Development, implementation and evaluations of systems for the secondary prevention of IPV are not only warranted, they are urgently needed."



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