Reducing Health Care Costs Through Early Intervention On Mental Illnesses

An interesting article in the January edition of Health Affairs focusing on patients with high mental health costs — and how they incur 30 percent more costs than other high-cost patients. This research helps to make the increasingly compelling case for earlier identification and intervention to address mental illnesses — if we’re concerned about saving money.

For their Health Affairs article, Claire de Oliveira and her colleagues examined a large group of Canadian patients to determine if and why individuals with mental health conditions were costlier to treat than those without mental health conditions. They found that the average cost for a “mental health high-cost patient” was roughly 33 percent greater than the average cost for other high-cost patients.

In the United States, mental disorders frequently rank among the highest in direct medical spending.

In doing their analysis, the authors uncovered some information that leads us to an obvious answer — we should intervene early.

Health Affairs Blog