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Treatment Cost Analysis Tool (TCAT) for estimating costs of outpatient treatment services

Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2008.08.015
  • Treatment Costs
  • Cost Analysis
  • Economic Evaluation
  • Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Design
  • Economics


Abstract A Microsoft ® Excel-based workbook designed for research analysts to use in a national study was retooled for treatment program directors and financial officers to allocate, analyze, and estimate outpatient treatment costs in the U.S. This instrument can also be used as a planning and management tool to optimize resources and forecast the impact of future changes in staffing, client flow, program design, and other resources. The Treatment Cost Analysis Tool (TCAT) automatically provides feedback and generates summaries and charts using comparative data from a national sample of non-methadone outpatient providers. TCAT is being used by program staff to capture and allocate both economic and accounting costs, and outpatient service costs are reported for a sample of 70 programs. Costs for an episode of treatment in regular, intensive, and mixed types of outpatient treatment were $882, $1310, and $1381 respectively (based on 20% trimmed means and 2006 dollars). An hour of counseling cost $64 in regular, $85 intensive, and $86 mixed. Group counseling hourly costs per client were $8, $11, and $10 respectively for regular, intensive, and mixed. Future directions include use of a web-based interview version, much like some of the commercially available tax preparation software tools, and extensions for use in other modalities of treatment.

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