Effect of prenatal and infancy nurse home visitation on government spending

Med Care. 1993 Feb;31(2):155-74. doi: 10.1097/00005650-199302000-00006.


A completed series of reports on a randomized trial (N = 400) indicated that, in contrast to comparison services, prenatal and infancy nurse home visitation improved a wide range of maternal and child health outcomes among poor, unmarried, and teenaged women bearing first children in a semirural county in upstate New York. Eighty-nine percent of the sample was white, and all analyses focused on this group. In this article, an analysis of the net cost of the home-visitation program from the perspective of government spending is presented. The average per-family cost of the program in 1980 dollars was $3,246 for the sample as a whole, and $3,133 for low-income families. Treatment differences in government expenditures for Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Food Stamps, Medicaid, and Child Protective Services, minus tax revenues due to maternal employment (also expressed in 1980 dollars), were conceived as government savings. By the time the children were 4 years of age, government savings were $1,772 (95% confidence interval [CI]: -$557, $4,102) for the sample as a whole, and $3,498 (95% CI: $569, $6,427) for low-income families. Within 2 years after the program ended, after discounting, the net cost of the program (program costs minus savings) for the sample as a whole was $1,582 per family. For low-income families, the cost of the program was recovered with a dividend of $180 per family.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community Health Nursing
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Financing, Government
  • Home Care Services / economics*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Care*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Models, Statistical
  • New York
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Postnatal Care*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Socioeconomic Factors