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Healthcare cost associations of patients who use illicit drugs in Florida: a retrospective analysis

Authors
  • Ryan, Jessica L.1
  • Rosa, Veronica R.1
  • 1 University of West Florida, 11000 University Parkway, Pensacola, FL, 32514, USA , Pensacola (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy
Publisher
Springer Nature
Publication Date
Sep 29, 2020
Volume
15
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1186/s13011-020-00313-2
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

BackgroundIllicit drug use increases visits to the hospital. Research is limited on the costs of these healthcare visits by illicit drug.MethodsFlorida’s Agency for Health Care Administration’s emergency department and inpatient datasets from 2016 to 2018 were analyzed. Adults who used an illicit drug were included in the study population resulting in 709,658 observations. Cost-to-charge ratios were used to estimate healthcare costs. Linear regression analyzed associations of illicit drugs with total healthcare cost.ResultsTotal healthcare costs are estimated at $6.4 billion over the 3 year period. Medicare paid for the most patient care ($2.16 billion) with Medicaid and commercial insurance each estimated at $1.36 billion. Cocaine (9.25%) and multiple drug use (6.12%) increased the costs of an ED visit compared to a patient with cannabis SUD. Opioids (23.40%) and inhalants use (16.30%) increased the costs of inpatient compared to cannabis SUD.ConclusionHealthcare costs are high of patients with illicit drug SUD and poisoning, over half of which are paid for with tax payer dollars and to an unknown degree hospital write-offs. Injuries and illness of patients using cocaine and multiple drugs are associated with more expensive ED patient care and opioids and inhalants are associated with more expensive inpatient care.

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