Primary objective: Comparison of healthcare costs for youth with mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) to costs in a matched cohort of children without TBI in the 3 years following injury.
Research design: This study used a prospective cohort design with 3-year follow-up. Costs were examined using the well-established two-step model and controlling for potential confounding variables.
Methods and procedures: Four-hundred and ninety subjects from a large health maintenance organization, 14 years old or younger, who sustained a mild TBI in 1993, were identified using computerized records. For each youth with mild TBI, three control subjects were selected (n = 1470), matched on age, sex and enrolment at the time of injury.
Experimental interventions: Not applicable.
Main outcomes and results: TBI exposure was associated with an increase in the proportion of subjects who had non-zero medical costs in all categories examined and a 75% increase in mean total costs. Presence of psychological distress was also associated with increased proportion of subjects with costs in all categories examined and was associated with an approximate doubling of mean total costs.
Conclusions: Mild TBI and psychological distress were each associated with significant increases in healthcare costs in an HMO setting.