Associations of Coexisting Conditions with Healthcare Spending for Children with Cerebral Palsy

J Pediatr. 2018 Sep:200:111-117.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2018.04.021. Epub 2018 May 8.


Objective: To determine which coexisting conditions have the strongest associations with healthcare use and spending among children with cerebral palsy (CP).

Study design: Retrospective analysis of 16 695 children ages 0-18 years with CP - identified with International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification codes - using Medicaid from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013 from 10 states in the Truven MarketScan Medicaid Database. Using generalized linear models, we assessed which coexisting conditions (including medical technology) identified with Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Chronic Condition Indicators had the strongest associations with total healthcare spending across the healthcare continuum.

Results: Median per-patient annual Medicaid spending for children with CP was $12 299 (IQR $4826-$35 582). Most spending went to specialty (33.1%) and hospital (26.7%) care. The children had a median 6 (IQR 4-10) coexisting conditions; epilepsy was the most common (38.1%). Children with epilepsy accounted for 59.6% ($364 million) of all CP spending. In multivariable analysis, the coexisting conditions most strongly associated with increased spending were tracheostomy (median additional cost per patient = $56 567 [95%CI $51 386-61 748]) and enterostomy (median additional cost per patient = $25 707 [95%CI $23 753-27 660]).

Conclusions: Highly prevalent in children with CP using Medicaid, coexisting conditions correlate strongly with healthcare spending. Tracheostomy and enterostomy, which indicate significant functional impairments in breathing and digestion, are associated with the highest spending. Families, providers, payers, and legislators may leverage these findings when designing policies positioned to enable the best health and care for children with cerebral palsy.

Keywords: Medicaid; cost; disability; utilization.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / economics*
  • Cerebral Palsy / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Delivery of Health Care / economics*
  • Female
  • Health Expenditures / trends*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Medicaid*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology