A National Asthma Programme was undertaken in Finland from 1994 to 2004 to improve asthma care and prevent an increase in costs. The main goal was to lessen the burden of asthma to individuals and society.
The action programme focused on implementation of new knowledge, especially for primary care. The main premise underpinning the campaign was that asthma is an inflammatory disease and requires anti-inflammatory treatment from the outset. The key for implementation was an effective network of asthma-responsible professionals and development of a post hoc evaluation strategy. In 1997 Finnish pharmacies were included in the Pharmacy Programme and in 2002 a Childhood Asthma mini-Programme was launched.
The incidence of asthma is still increasing, but the burden of asthma has decreased considerably. The number of hospital days has fallen by 54% from 110 000 in 1993 to 51 000 in 2003, 69% in relation to the number of asthmatics (n = 135 363 and 207 757, respectively), with the trend still downwards. In 1993, 7212 patients of working age (9% of 80 133 asthmatics) received a disability pension from the Social Insurance Institution compared with 1741 in 2003 (1.5% of 116 067 asthmatics). The absolute decrease was 76%, and 83% in relation to the number of asthmatics. The increase in the cost of asthma (compensation for disability, drugs, hospital care, and outpatient doctor visits) ended: in 1993 the costs were 218 million euro which had fallen to 213.5 million euro in 2003. Costs per patient per year have decreased 36% (from 1611 euro to 1031 euro).
It is possible to reduce the morbidity of asthma and its impact on individuals as well as on society. Improvements would have taken place without the programme, but not of this magnitude.
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We assess the costs and consequences of a participatory ergonomics process at a Canadian car parts manufacturer from the perspective of the firm.
Regression modeling was used with interrupted time series data to assess the impact of the process on several health measures. Consequences were kept in natural units for cost-effectiveness analysis, and translated into monetary units for cost-benefit analysis.
The duration of disability insurance claims and the number of denied workers' compensation claims was significantly reduced. The cost-effectiveness ratio is $12.06 per disability day averted. The net present value is $244,416 for a 23-month period with a benefit-to-cost ratio of 10.6, suggesting that the process was worth undertaking (monetary units in 2001 Canadian dollars).
Our findings emphasize the importance of considering a range of outcomes when evaluating an occupational health and safety intervention.
Participatory ergonomics process can be cost-effective for a firm.
This study was performed to estimate the cost of long-term disability in people who have anorexia nervosa (AN) that live in the province of British Columbia (BC), Canada. Canada provides universal socialized health and welfare services, and each of the 10 provinces is responsible for its own funding. As the provincial government of BC does not categorize its disability payments by the cause of the disability, a survey was used to determine the rate of disability from AN. A sensitivity analysis was performed to assess the influence of variations on the yearly cost of disability in BC: the number of patients with AN was varied between 1.0 and 2.0% of the female and 0.05 and 0.1% of the male population; the percentage of patients with AN receiving disability payments was determined by the survey to be 35%; the cost of these payments was varied between the lowest and highest benefits a single person can receive from the BC provincial government; and finally, to allow for possible sampling bias and a possible lower prevalence of AN, the lower limit of the sensitivity analysis was derived by dividing the lowest estimate above by seven. The sensitivity analysis revealed that the total estimated cost of long-term disability in BC could be as low as $2.5 million (Canadian) or as high as $101.7 million per year, which is a cost of up to 30 times the total yearly cost of all tertiary care services for the treatment of eating disorders in BC. In view of this finding, an increase in funding is warranted for primary, secondary and tertiary prevention programs for AN in BC.
Much has been written since the first appearance of HIV/AIDS in 1981 about its effects on the Canadian health care and social services systems. However, researchers have given limited attention to issues of entry or re-entry to the competitive job market for HIV positive individuals. The emergence of highly active antiretroviral therapies (HAART) has allowed a significant number of persons who are HIV positive to experience a major recovery in health and energy. This increase in physical health has in turn led to a re-examination of the possibility of returning to former types and levels of activity, including the prospect of going back to work or entering the competitive workforce for the first time. The purpose of this paper is to outline some of the issues and concerns that impact HIV positive individuals' attempts to return to or enter the competitive workforce, particularly those relating to disability policies and public insurance. Data from in-depth interviews with a sample of people living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) are used to help illustrate the disconnect between these policies and the lived experiences of PHAs. Also discussed are the opportunities for Canadian policies and practices to employ a functional definition of disability and a philosophy of early intervention in vocational rehabilitation.
To examine the cost, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of a collaborative mental health care (CMHC) pilot program for people on short-term disability leave for psychiatric disorders.
Using a quasi-experimental design, the analyses were conducted using 2 groups of subjects who received short-term disability benefits for psychiatric disorders. One group (n = 75) was treated in a CMHC program during their disability episode. The comparison group (n = 51) received short-term disability benefits related to psychiatric disorders in the prior year but did not receive CMHC during their disability episode. People in both groups met screening criteria for the CMHC program. Differences in cost and days absent from work were tested using Student t tests and confirmed using nonparametric Wilcoxon rank sum tests. Differences in return to work and transition to long-term disability leave were tested using chi-square tests. The cost-effectiveness analysis used the net benefit regression framework.
The results suggest that with CMHC, for every 100 people on short-term disability leave for psychiatric disorders, there could be $50 000 in savings related to disability benefits along with more people returning to work (n = 23), less people transitioning to long-term disability leave (n = 24), and 1600 more workdays.
CMHC models of disability management based on our Canadian data may be a worthwhile investment in helping people who are receiving short-term disability benefits for psychiatric disorders to receive adequate treatment.
Erratum In: Can J Psychiatry. 2009 Jul;54(7):428Gusscott, Richard [corrected to Guscott, Richard]
BACKGROUND: Musculoskeletal disorders account for about 50 % of the cost of sick leaves in Norway. The aim of the study was to evaluate whether it is possible cut down the length of such sick leaves by augmenting the knowledge of these disorders among general practitioners (GPs). MATERIAL AND METHODS: Among GPs in a region of 50 000 inhabitants in Buskerud county, 24 joined a continuous medical education programme on musculoskeletal disorders and received financial compensation for the extra time spent on an extended clinical examination of patients whose sick leave had exceeded 16 days. 41 GPs that did not wish to attend the programme joined the study as a control group. Patients were included over one year and there was a one-year follow-up period. RESULTS: The GPs in the programme had a total of 753 patients who were included in the study; the GPs in the control group had 964. There were no differences between these patient groups with regard to sex, age, occupation and diagnosis, in length of sick leaves, or more permanent disability benefits. Among patients on sick leave of more than one year, 55% had not been referred to a specialist. INTERPRETATION: Augmenting the skills of GPs and giving them incentives to conduct more thorough clinical examinations does not reduce length of sick leaves caused by musculoskeletal disorders.
To evaluate disability and prognosis in an untreated population-based incidence cohort of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.
The Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score was recorded in 220 MS patients. Disease progression was assessed by life table analysis with different endpoints and multivariate Cox regression analysis was performed for evaluation of prognostic factors.
The probability of being alive after 15 years was 94.8 +/- 1.8% (s.e.), of managing without a wheelchair (EDSS 3 years) predicted favorable outcome. There was also a trend towards favorable outcome in patients with optic neuritis, sensory symptoms and low age at onset but these factors were associated with the RR course. Motor symptoms and high age at onset indicated unfavorable outcome, but these factors were associated with the primary progressive course.
A RR course and long inter-episode intervals in the early phase of the disease were associated with a better outcome. Other onset characteristics indicating a favorable outcome were associated with the RR course while characteristics indicating an unfavorable outcome were associated with the PP course.
BACKGROUND: The increasing prevalence of disability pensioning in Norway has led to several attempts at strengthening the proactive role of the National Insurance System (NIS) in cases of long-term sick-listing. Since 1988, a special medical certificate is required after eight weeks of sick-leave. The aim of this study was to examine whether systematic evaluation of this medical certificate by NIS officers and NIS medical consultants could reduce future health insurance expenditure. MATERIAL AND METHODS: In 1994 a randomised study using a paired design of the NIS local offices in the county of Hordaland was undertaken. All eight-week medical certificates in the intervention group (N = 2,237) were systematically reviewed, whereas standard routines were used for the control group (N = 1,764). RESULTS: After three years, no significant differences were observed between the two groups in health insurance utilisation. INTERPRETATION: We conclude that local NIS offices are unable to use the information in the eight-week sick notes to effectively influence future utilisation of health insurance. The reason may be that NIS offices lack the skills necessary for early intervention in long-term sick-listing.
Ensuring the financial security of individuals recovering from first episode psychosis is imperative, but disability income programs can be powerful disincentives to employment, compromising the social and occupational aspects of recovery. Survival analysis and Cox regression analysis were used to examine the rate at which individuals served by early intervention for psychosis (EIP) services apply for government disability income benefits and factors that predict rate of application. Health records for 558 individuals served by EIP programs were reviewed. Within the first year of receiving services 30% will make application for disability income; 60% will do so by 5 years. Rate of application is predicted by rate of hospital admission, financial status and engagement in productivity roles at the time of entry to EIP service. The findings suggest the need to examine the extent to which the recovery goals of EI services are undermined by early application for government income support. They also suggest the need to develop best practice guidelines related to ensuring the economic security of individuals served.