Alcoholism treatment and medical care costs from Project MATCH

Addiction. 2000 Jul;95(7):999-1013. doi: 10.1046/j.1360-0443.2000.9579993.x.


Aims: This paper examines the costs of medical care prior to and following initiation of alcoholism treatment as part of a study of patient matching to treatment modality.

Design: Longitudinal study with pre- and post-treatment initiation.

Measurements: The total medical care costs for inpatient and outpatient treatment for patients participating over a span of 3 years post-treatment.

Setting: Three treatment sites at two of the nine Project MATCH locations (Milwaukee, WI and Providence, RI).

Participants: Two hundred and seventy-nine patients.

Intervention: Patients were randomly assigned to one of three treatment modalities: a 12-session cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a four-session motivational enhancement therapy (MET) or a 12-session Twelve-Step facilitation (TSF) treatment over 12 weeks.

Findings: Total medical care costs declined from pre- to post-treatment overall and for each modality. Matching effects independent of clinical prognosis showed that MET has potential for medical-care cost-savings. However, patients with poor prognostic characteristics (alcohol dependence, psychiatric severity and/or social network support for drinking) have better cost-savings potential with CBT and/or TSF.

Conclusions: Matching variables have significant importance in increasing the potential for medical-care cost-reductions following alcoholism treatment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / economics*
  • Alcoholism / therapy
  • Ambulatory Care / economics*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Hospitalization / economics*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Patient Selection
  • Prognosis