The diagnosis of a patient with mental health problems may be the only obvious, easy-to-identify factor that correlates with the cost of the patient’s care.
Addiction researchers at Harvard University come to that conclusion in a study backed by ValueOptions Inc., Reston, Va.
ValueOptions manages treatment of addiction, depression and other mental health problems.
The Harvard researchers used millions of claims filed from January 2002 to December 2004 by members of 4 regional health plans in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
The researchers considered member characteristics such as age, gender and diagnosis along with factors such as deductibles and other elements of benefit plan design; the number of mental health care providers in a member’s ZIP code; and whether the member was in a health maintenance organization plan, preferred provider organization plan or point-of-service plan.