Purpose: Assess the costs and cost-effectiveness of an incentive-based tuberculosis (TB) program designed to promote adolescents' compliance with treatment for latent TB infection (LTBI).
Methods: Randomized controlled trial. Adolescents between the ages of 11 and 19 years who were referred to one of two participating clinics after being screened for TB and receiving a positive diagnosis indicating LTBI (n = 794) were assigned to one of four groups: usual care, peer counseling, contingency contracting, and combined peer counseling/contingency contracting. Primary outcome variables were completion of isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT), total treatment costs, and lifetime TB-related costs per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) in each of the four study groups (three treatment, one control). Cost effectiveness was evaluated using a five-stage Markov model and a Monte Carlo simulation with 10,000 trials.
Results: Average costs were 199 dollars for usual care (UC), 277 dollars for peer counseling (PC), 326 dollars for contingency contracting (CC), and 341 dollars for PC + CC combined. The differences among these groups were all significant at the p = .001 level. Only the PC + CC group improved the rate of IPT completion (83.8%) relative to usual care (75.9%) (p = .051), with an overall incremental CE ratio of 209 dollars per QALY relative to usual care.
Conclusion: Incentives combined with peer counseling are a cost-effective strategy for helping adolescents to complete care when combined with peer counseling.