Burden of Illness for an Employed Population with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Nair, Kavita; Ghushchyan, Vahram; Van Den Bos, Jill; Halford, Michael L.; Tan, Gideon; Frech-Tamas, Feride H.; Doyle, Joseph
October 2012
Population Health Management;Oct2012, Vol. 15 Issue 5, p267
Academic Journal
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects approximately 7% of Americans. COPD impacts productivity and forces 1 in 5 employees ages 45-65 years old to retire prematurely. Our objective was to quantify the direct and indirect costs of COPD in an employed population in the United States. A retrospective analysis using Thomson Reuters MarketScan commercial claims and Health and Productivity (HPM) databases (2000-2007) identified employees (ages 18-65 years) with ≥ 1 COPD medical claim, ≥ 6 month insurance eligibility pre and ≥ 12 months post diagnosis, and ≥ 12 months HPM data post diagnosis. COPD subjects were matched to non-COPD subjects using propensity scores to create a comparison group with similar characteristics. Differences in medical and pharmacy utilization and productivity (absence and short-term disability [STD] days) were examined using negative binomial regression, and cost differences using Heckman selection models. A total of 27,612 COPD patients were matched in a 1:1 ratio to 825,884 non-COPD patients; 80% were ages 36-65 years, and 59% were male. COPD employees had about twice the rate of emergency department visits and hospitalizations compared to non-COPD employees ( P<0.0001). The rate of absence and STD days was approximately 1.5 times higher ( P<0.0001) compared to non-COPD employees. Yearly direct and indirect expenditures were higher ($3609 and $909, respectively; P<0.0001) for COPD versus non-COPD employees. Excess utilization and associated costs of COPD to employers was quantified. By understanding these costs, employers may evaluate disease management programs and treatment to improve outcomes for employees with COPD. Improved treatment options may reduce the direct and indirect costs of COPD. ( Population Health Management 2012;15:267-275)


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