College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Depression, service utilization and treatment costs among medicare elderly: Gender differences

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2001

Publication Title

Home Health & Community Care Services Quarterly

ISSN

1545-0856

Volume

19

Issue/No.

3

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare gender differences in mood disorders, service utilization, and health care costs among a random sample of Medicare elderly beneficiaries of Tennessee.

DATA SOURCES:

Medicare expenditure data from a 5% random sample of Tennessee Medicare beneficiaries (n = 35,673) were examined for 1991-1993. The physician reimbursement files provided data relative to ICD-9 diagnostic codes, physician visits, and the cost of physician services provided. Other service utilization and cost data were obtained for the sample from the outpatient, home health, skilled nursing, hospice and inpatient files.

STUDY DESIGN:

The dependent variables were: (i) patients with ICD-9 diagnosis for a mood disorder (major depression and other depression), (ii) service utilization (number of outpatient visits, skilled nursing visits, home health visits, physician visits, emergency visits, and inpatient days), and (iii) health care costs (dollar amount of physician cost, outpatient cost, inpatient cost, total mental health cost, total health cost, and other cost). The independent variable was gender.

PRINCIPLE FINDINGS:

Chi-square tests showed that among the patients with a mood disorder, females had a significantly higher incidence than males of major depression (1.3% vs. .4%, respectively, p < .001) and other depression (1.6% vs. .6%, respectively, p < .001). Further, t-test results indicated that females diagnosed with major depression utilized significantly more outpatient services than males (3.2 vs. 2.6, respectively, p < .04). Total health care costs for those with other depression were significantly higher for males than females ($15,060 vs. $10,240, respectively, p < .002).

CONCLUSIONS:

The results indicate that mood disorders, outpatient services, and total mental health costs are higher for females than males; however, total health care costs are higher for males than females.

DOI

10.1300/J027v19n03_03

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