Risk factors for CVD are associated with increased health care expenditures for persons with serious mental illness

Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Exhibit Hall C (Marriott Wardman Park Hotel)

Presenter: Elle Pope

Background: Individuals with serious mental illness (SMI), including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder, with a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) are a vulnerable population with diminished quality of life, complicated treatment plans, and mortality rates two to three times higher than the overall US population, mostly due to CVD. Objective: To determine if significant direct healthcare costs exist between patients with SMI and a CVD risk factor compared to those who only have single diagnosis of SMI or a CVD risk factor. Methods: Using 2010-2015 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) data, a two-part model (logit/GLM) estimated total direct health care expenditures among patients with SMI and a CVD risk factor. Results: We identified 2,117 patients who had both a SMI diagnosis and a CVD risk factor. Unadjusted total health care expenditures were $14,590 (CI 95%13,274, 15,906) for patients with both a SMI and CVD risk factor, compared to $9,863 (CI 95% $6,872, $12,854) for patients with SMI and no CVD risk factor. Patients with both disease categories were also 37% more likely to incur higher expenses compared to those with either a single diagnosis of SMI. Conclusion: The economic burden of SMI and a co-morbid CVD risk factor accounts for a disproportionate share of expenditures compared to patients without these risk factors. Given the large prevalence of CVD risk factors among patients with SMI, screening for these conditions should be prioritized for timely diagnosis, appropriate disease management, and to mitigate downstream health care expenditures.