Long-term medical care utilization and costs among traumatic brain injury survivors

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2005 Mar;84(3):153-60. doi: 10.1097/01.phm.0000154896.55045.e7.


Objective: To examine billing patterns and predictors of healthcare utilization and costs associated with traumatic brain injury.

Design: Retrospective cohort study of healthcare billings for 63 survivors of traumatic brain injury, over a 19-mo period, using a state-sponsored Medicaid program. The relationship of indicators of injury severity and disability to billings and payments was investigated. Mean age at time of injury was 33 yrs. Mean highest Glasgow Coma Scale rating immediately after brain injury was 8.

Results: A total of 795,635 US dollars was billed to Medicaid for 3,950 services and medications used. A total of 281,897 US dollars was paid for these billings out of the Medicaid account studied. Billings were used for statistical analyses, as they were considered the most stable indicator of cost. Motor deficits at discharge from inpatient rehabilitation (FIM motor score) showed inverse relationships to total billings (rho = -0.42, P < 0.001), subcategories of billings reflecting equipment and supplies (rho = -.26, P = 0.020), and outpatient billings (rho = -0.27, P = 0.015). Change in FIM motor scores during inpatient rehabilitation was inversely associated with billings (rho = -0.40). Change in FIM motor scores provided unique information in predicting utilization after accounting for demographic characteristics and severity of injury.

Conclusions: Motor disability and improvement during inpatient rehabilitation were significant predictors of billings after traumatic brain injury. Initial severity of brain injury was not a significant factor in utilization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care / economics
  • Brain Injuries / economics*
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Drug Prescriptions / economics
  • Female
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Health Care Costs
  • Home Care Services / economics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicaid / economics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survivors
  • United States