Objective: To measure the per-event health plan costs for acute and follow-up treatment not directed by a clinical study protocol in a group of commercially insured patients in 2 managed care organizations following an incident hospitalization that included a diagnosis for a venous thromboembolism (VTE) event.
Methods: A cohort of patients with an incident in-hospital VTE event, consisting of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or pulmonary embolism (PE), or both DVT + PE, was retrospectively identified from the administrative claims databases of 2 large U.S. health care plans. Inclusion criteria were (a) an inpatient VTE event between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 2000, (b) no VTE diagnosis or anticoagulation therapy 3 months prior to the incident VTE in-hospital event, (c) at least 1 anticoagulation pharmacy fill following the incident hospital VTE, and (d) continuous health plan enrollment 3 months prior to and 6 months following the incident hospital VTE event. Total costs were reported on a per-event basis and consisted of the aggregated amount paid by the health plan to the provider after subtraction of member cost-share. Costs were collected separately, first for the incident VTE event for all patients identified and second for patients who had at least 1 of the following events in the follow-up period: bleed requiring or not requiring hospitalization, a recurrent VTE event requiring hospitalization, or a recurrent VTE and bleed (VTE + bleed) event requiring hospitalization. Costs were compared between incident diagnosis groups using multivariate generalized linear model techniques.
Results: A total of 2,147 patients (DVT=1,499 [69.8%], PE=373 [17.4%], DVT+PE= 275 [12.8%]) were identified (mean age=61.6standard deviation [SD] 16 years; 46.3% male) and were followed for an average of 21.3 (median, 19.2) months. Disease severity was high in these patients, including 59.2% with a history of or active malignancy. The prevalence of VTE was 2.04 per 100,000 study-eligible health plan members. For the incident VTE events, average costs were 7,712+/-18,339 US dollars (median, 3,131 US dollars) per incident DVT event; 9,566+/-13,512 US dollars (median, 6,424 US dollars) per PE incident event; and 12,200+/-24,038 US dollars (median, 6,678 US dollars) per incident DVT+PE event. Warfarin treatment following the incident VTE event was administered to 97.3% of patients for an average of 6.7 (median, 5.0) months at an average cost of 19.40 US dollars per patient per month. During the average period of 21.3 months, 534 patients (24.9%) experienced an average of 1.24 bleed or recurrent VTE events per patient that required hospitalization at a mean cost of 14,975 US dollars per event or 2,101 US dollars per patient per year. For patients with a bleed in the follow-up period that required hospitalization, average costs were 12,326+/-24,448 US dollars (median, 5,736 US dollars) per recurrent VTE; 15,339+/-52,029 US dollars (median, 4,999 US dollars) per bleed; or 24,085+/-65,411 US dollars (median, 10,185 US dollars) per recurrent VTE + bleed event. During the follow-up period, a total of 612 patients (28.5%) experienced 1,489 recurrent bleed events that did not require hospitalization, at an average cost of 239+/-386 US dollars (median, 95 US dollars) per event. There were no significant differences in mean total costs for all pair-wise comparisons between the 3 incident diagnosis groups.
Conclusions: Of patients who experienced a VTE event during the incident hospital stay for any diagnosis, 1 in 4 experienced an average of 1.24 bleed or recurrent VTE events that required hospitalization in the 21 months of follow-up and incurred an average health plan cost of 14,957 US dollars per event. These data may be of interest to managed care decision makers when evaluating the cost impact of new therapies or providing more comprehensive anticoagulation management services for existing therapies.