Purpose: This study aimed to capture direct costs of outpatient rehabilitative stroke care and medications for a 1-year period after discharge from inpatient rehabilitation.
Methods: Outpatient rehabilitative services and medication costs for 1 year, during the time period of 2001 to 2005, were calculated for 54 first-time stroke survivors. Costs for services were based on Medicare reimbursement rates. Medicaid reimbursement rates and average wholesale price were used to estimate medication costs.
Results: Of the 54 stroke survivors, 40 (74.1%) were categorized as independent, 12 (22.2%) had modified dependence, and 2 (3.7%) were dependent at the time of discharge from inpatient rehabilitation. Average cost for outpatient stroke rehabilitation services and medications the first year post inpatient rehabilitation discharge was $17,081. The corresponding average yearly cost of medication was $5,392, while the average cost of yearly rehabilitation service utilization was $11,689. Cost attributed to medication remained relatively constant throughout the groups. Outpatient rehabilitation service utilization constituted a large portion of cost within each group: 69.7% (dependent), 72.5% (modified dependence), and 66.7% (independent).
Conclusions: Stroke survivors continue to incur significant costs associated with their stroke for the first 12 months following discharge from an inpatient rehabilitation setting. Changing public policies affect the cost and availability of care. This study provides a snapshot of outpatient medication and therapy costs prior to the enactment of major changes in federal legislation and serves as a baseline for future studies.