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Archivos argentinos de pediatría

Print version ISSN 0325-0075


FERRARIS, Francisco et al. Resources use and direct medical costs in a pediatric population with chronic diseases. Arch. argent. pediatr. [online]. 2011, vol.109, n.3, pp.213-218. ISSN 0325-0075.

Objectives. To evaluate the distribution and analyze the use of resources and direct medical costs in children and adolescents diagnosed with a chronic disease and compare them with healthy children of the same age from a health insurer perspective. Methods. We analyzed the resources used and direct medical costs generated during 2008 in 21-year-old patients or younger affiliated to a health plan of community hospital in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We compared the outcomes of patients with at least one chronic disease as defined by Stein with healthy patients from a health insurer perspective with a one year time horizon. The costs were expressed in U.S. dollars for 2008. Results. We identifed 1885 children and adolescents with chronic illness, accounting for 6.7% of the total pediatric population studied. This group had a greater number and length of hospitalization, greater use of medications, practices and medical consultations than the healthy pediatric population. The mean total annual costs were US$ 501 (95% CI: 419-583) and US$ 212 (95% CI: 188-236), respectively (p < 0.001). Overweight, obesity and asthma, even with relatively low or moderate costs per patient, generated almost 39% of the total costs of chronic diseases due to its high prevalence. Conclusion. The pediatric population with diagnosis of at least one chronic disease had significantly greater utilization of medical services and increased costs in all areas studied. It is also important to recognize that diseases of low or moderate cost per patient, but highly prevalent, generate the largest share of expenditure of chronic diseases in the population.

Keywords : Medical care cost; Chronic disease; Childhood; Adolescent.

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