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M.A. Mychaskiw, G.F. Schwartz; Medical Care Costs of Primary Open–Angle Glaucoma in the United States: A National Estimate Using the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2005;46(13):1962.
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Purpose:The objective of this study was to estimate the direct costs of medical care associated with the treatment of primary open–angle glaucoma (POAG) in the United States. Methods:: Retrospective analysis was conducted of the 2001 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) data. The MEPS collected survey and administrative claims data from a nationally representative sample of 33,556 respondents and from respondents’ health care and insurance providers. Data extracted for this study included demographics (patients >40 years of age), medical conditions, and utilization of and payments for medical care. Patients with POAG were identified using ICD–9–CM codes and direct costs were calculated using patient and third–party payments for POAG–related medical events by type of care provided (office–based provider visits, prescription medications, and outpatient services). Sample estimates were weighted and projected to the population and 95% confidence limits were calculated using the Taylor expansion method. Results: The estimated prevalence of POAG using the MEPS was 1.25% (95% C.L.=0.94%–1.56%) or 1,640,087 individuals. Total direct costs of POAG were $1,788,914,417, with an average cost of $1,091 per patient. Prescription medications accounted for $1,042,509,011 (mean cost / prescription=$58; 95% C.L.=$54–$63) of direct costs. Office–based provider visits represented $619,401,436 (mean cost / visit=$105; 95% C.L.=$96–$113) and outpatient services represented $127,003,970 (mean cost / patient=$316; 95% C.L.=$198–$434). Conclusions: Using the MEPS, POAG was estimated to affect nearly 1.7 million individuals with resultant medical care costs approaching $2 billion. Although prescription medications accounted for 58% of total direct costs, they had the lowest mean cost across the types of care. It may well be that innovative drug therapies, which are preferable to less effective alternatives, contribute to less utilization of more costly medical care.
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