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Economic Impact to Employers of Treatment Options for Cardiac Arrhythmias in the US Health System

Kleinman, Nathan L. PhD; Rohrbacker, Nicholas J. MS; White, Sarah A. MPH; March, Jamie L. MBA; Reynolds, Matthew R. MD, MSc

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: April 2011 - Volume 53 - Issue 4 - p 405–414
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31820fd1c9
Original Articles

Objective: To measure relative employer-sponsored postablation costs for cardiac arrhythmias (CA), specifically atrial fibrillation (AF).

Methods: Regression-Controlled Employee/Spouse Database study (2001 to 2008) comparing CA patients with and without ablation and AF patients with and without ablation. Regression-adjusted monthly medical, pharmacy, sick leave, and short-term disability costs were calculated 11 months before index to 36 months after index (first ablation date or average date for nonablation patients). Relative pre/postindex comparisons between ablation and nonablation cohorts were calculated and time until ablation procedure cost recovery extrapolated.

Results: Few CA (280 of 11,291; 2.48%) and AF (93 of 3062; 3.04%) patients received ablation. Ablation cohorts cost less than nonablation cohorts postablation. Estimated total ablation-period costs were recovered 38 to 50 months postablation, including employee absence payment recovery within 18 months.

Conclusion: Current ablation use in employer-sponsored health plans may improve health care and absence costs over time.

From the HCMS Group LLC (Dr Kleinman and Mr Rohrbacker), Cheyenne, Wyo; Biosense Webster, Inc (Ms White and Ms March), Diamond Bar, Calif; and Harvard Clinical Research Institute and Harvard Medical School (Dr Reynolds), Boston, Mass.

Address correspondence to: Nathan L. Kleinman, PhD, 1800 Carey Ave, Ste 500, Cheyenne, WY 82001; nathan_kleinman@hcmsgroup.com.

©2011The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine