Device evaluation and coverage policy in workers' compensation: examples from Washington State.
Workers' compensation health benefits are broader than general health benefits and include payment for medical and rehabilitation costs, associated indemnity (lost time) costs, and vocational rehabilitation (return-to-work) costs. In addition, cost liability is for the life of the claim (injury), rather than for each plan year. We examined device evaluation and coverage policy in workers' compensation over a 10-year period in Washington State. Most requests for device coverage in workers' compensation relate to the diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment of chronic musculoskeletal conditions. A number of specific problems have been recognized in making device coverage decisions within workers' compensation: (1) invasive devices with a high adverse event profile and history of poor outcomes could significantly increase both indemnity and medical costs; (2) many noninvasive devices, while having a low adverse event profile, have not proved effective for managing chronic musculoskeletal conditions relevant to injured workers; (3) some devices are marketed and billed as surrogate diagnostic tests for generally accepted, and more clearly proven, standard tests; (4) quality oversight of technology use among physicians may be inadequate; and (5) insurers' access to efficacy data adequate to make timely and appropriate coverage decisions in workers' compensation is often lacking. Emerging technology may substantially increase the costs of workers' compensation without significant evidence of health benefit for injured workers. To prevent ever-rising costs, we need to increase provider education and patient education and consent, involve the state medical society in coverage policy, and collect relevant outcomes data from healthcare providers. (+info)
Economic consequences of early inpatient discharge to community-based rehabilitation for stroke in an inner-London teaching hospital.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: In an inner-London teaching hospital, a randomized trial of "conventional" care versus early discharge to community-based therapy found no significant differences in clinical outcomes between patient groups. This report examines the economic consequences of the alternative strategies. METHODS: One hundred sixty-seven patients received the early discharge package, and 164 received conventional care. Patient utilization of health and social services was recorded over a 12-month period, and cost was determined using data from provider departments and other published sources. RESULTS: Inpatient stay after randomization was 12 days (intervention group) versus 18 days (controls) (P=0.0001). Average units of therapy per patient were as follows: physiotherapy, 22.4 (early discharge) versus 15.0 (conventional) (P=0.0006); occupational therapy, 29.0 versus 23.8 (P=0.002); speech therapy, 13. 7 versus 5.8 (P=0.0001). The early discharge group had more annual hospital physician contacts (P=0.015) and general practitioner clinic visits (P=0.019) but fewer incidences of day hospital attendance (P=0.04). Other differences in utilization were nonsignificant. Average annual costs per patient were pound sterling 6800 (early discharge) and pound sterling 7432 (conventional). The early discharge group had lower inpatient costs per patient (pound sterling 4862 [71% of total cost] versus pound sterling 6343 [85%] for controls) but higher non-inpatient costs (pound sterling 1938 [29%] versus pound sterling 1089 [15%]). Further analysis demonstrated that early discharge is unlikely to lead to financial savings; its main benefit is to release capacity for an expansion in stroke caseload. CONCLUSIONS: Overall results of this trial indicate that early discharge to community rehabilitation for stroke is cost-effective. It may provide a means of addressing the predicted increase in need for stroke care within existing hospital capacity. (+info)
Treatment in a combined acute and rehabilitation stroke unit: which aspects are most important?
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: We have previously shown that treatment of acute stroke patients in our stroke unit (SU) compared with treatment in general ward (GWs) improves short- and long-term survival and functional outcome and increases the possibility of earlier discharge to home. The aim of the present study was to identify the differences in treatment between the SU and the GW and to assess which aspects of the SU care which were most responsible for the better outcome. METHODS: Of the 220 patients included in our trial, only 206 were actually treated (SU, 102 patients; GW, 104 patients). For these patients, we identified the differences in the treatment and the consequences of the treatment. We analyzed the factors that we were able to measure and their association with the outcome, discharge to home within 6 weeks. RESULTS: Characteristic features in our SU were teamwork, staff education, functional training, and integrated physiotherapy and nursing. Other treatment factors significantly different in the SU from the GW were shorter time to start of the systematic mobilization/training and increased use of oxygen, heparin, intravenous saline solutions, and antipyretics. Consequences of the treatment seem to be less variation in diastolic and systolic blood pressure (BP), avoiding the lowest diastolic BP, and lowering the levels of glucose and temperature in the SU group compared with the GW group. Univariate analyses showed that all these factors except the level of glucose were significantly associated with discharge to home within 6 weeks. In the final multivariate Cox regression model, shorter time to start of the mobilization/training and stabilized diastolic BP were independent factors significantly associated with discharge to home within 6 weeks. CONCLUSIONS: Shorter time to start of mobilization/training was the most important factor associated with discharge to home, followed by stabilized diastolic BP, indicating that these factors probably were important in the SU treatment. The effects of characteristic features of an SU, such as a specially trained staff, teamwork, and involvement of relatives, were not possible to measure. Such factors might be more important than those actually measured. (+info)
The effects of neurocognitive remediation on executive processing in patients with schizophrenia.
Approaches to cognitive remediation have differed across studies. Most of the larger studies have concentrated on group treatments designed without the benefit of recent laboratory-based studies. The current study describes a randomized trial of an intensive cognitive remediation program involving individual daily sessions of 1 hour for up to 3 months. It targets executive functioning deficits (cognitive flexibility, working memory, and planning) that are known to be problematic in people with schizophrenia. Procedural learning, as well as the principles of errorless learning, targeted reinforcement, and massed practice, was the basis of the intervention. The program was compared with an alternative therapy (intensive occupational therapy) to control for some of the effects of therapeutic contact. Some improvements in cognition followed both therapies. A differential effect in favor of cognitive remediation therapy was found for tests in the cognitive flexibility and the memory subgroups. There was a trend for those receiving atypical antipsychotic medication to benefit more from cognitive remediation for tests of cognitive flexibility. Although there were no consistent changes in symptoms or social functioning between groups, if improvement in cognitive flexibility tasks reached a threshold then there is some evidence that social functioning improved, even over the short duration of the trial. In addition, cognitive remediation differentially improved self-esteem. This study supports the view that cognitive remediation can reduce cognitive deficits and that this reduction may affect social outcome, at least in the short term. (+info)
Mapping the literature of occupational therapy.
Occupational therapy, formally organized in the United States in 1917, is considered an allied health field. Mapping occupational therapy literature is part of a bibliometric project of the Medical Library Association's Nursing and Allied Health Resources Section's project for mapping the literature of allied health. Three core journals were selected from the years 1995 and 1996 and a determination was made of the extent to which the cited journal references were covered by standard indexing sources. Using Bradford's Law of Scattering three zones were created, each containing approximately one-third of the cited journal references. The results showed that three journals made up the first zone, 117 journals the second, and 657 the third. The most cited journal was the American Journal of Occupational Therapy. In the second zone, journals from twelve disciplines were identified. While MEDLINE provided the best overall indexing, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) was the only database that indexed the three most cited journals plus nine of the currently active titles in occupational therapy. MEDLINE could improve its coverage of occupational therapy by indexing the journals of the British, Canadian, and Australian national associations. (+info)
Domiciliary occupational therapy for patients with stroke discharged from hospital: randomised controlled trial.
OBJECTIVE: To establish if a brief programme of domiciliary occupational therapy could improve the recovery of patients with stroke discharged from hospital. DESIGN: Single blind randomised controlled trial. SETTING: Two hospital sites within a UK teaching hospital. SUBJECTS: 138 patients with stroke with a definite plan for discharge home from hospital. INTERVENTION: Six week domiciliary occupational therapy or routine follow up. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Nottingham extended activities of daily living score and "global outcome" (deterioration according to the Barthel activities of daily living index, or death). RESULTS: By eight weeks the mean Nottingham extended activities of daily living score in the intervention group was 4.8 points (95% confidence interval -0.5 to 10.0, P=0.08) greater than that of the control group. Overall, 16 (24%) intervention patients had a poor global outcome compared with 30 (42%) control patients (odds ratio 0.43, 0.21 to 0.89, P=0.02). These patterns persisted at six months but were not statistically significant. Patients in the intervention group were more likely to report satisfaction with a range of aspects of services. CONCLUSION: The functional outcome and satisfaction of patients with stroke can be improved by a brief occupational therapy programme carried out in the patient's home immediately after discharge. Major benefits may not, however, be sustained. (+info)
Treatment of nonmalignant chronic pain.
Nonmalignant, chronic pain is associated with physical, emotional and financial disability. Recent animal studies have shown that remodeling within the central nervous system causes the physical pathogenesis of chronic pain. This central neural plasticity results in persistent pain after correction of pathology, hyperalgesia, allodynia, and the spread of pain to areas other than those involved with the initial pathology. Patient evaluation and management focus on pain symptoms, functional disabilities, contributory comorbid illnesses, and medication use or overuse. Treatment of chronic pain involves a comprehensive approach using medication and functional rehabilitation. Functional rehabilitation includes patient education, the identification and management of contributing illnesses, the determination of reachable treatment goals and regular reassessment. (+info)
Outcomes monitoring and the testing of new psychiatric treatments: work therapy in the treatment of chronic post-traumatic stress disorder.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of a work therapy intervention, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Compensated Work Therapy program (CWT), in the treatment of patients suffering from chronic war-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); and to demonstrate methods for using outcomes monitoring data to screen previously untested treatments. DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: Baseline and four-month follow-up questionnaires administered to 3,076 veterans treated in 52 specialized VA inpatient programs for treatment of PTSD at facilities that also had CWT programs. Altogether 78 (2.5 percent) of these patients participated in CWT during the four months after discharge. STUDY DESIGN: The study used a pre-post nonequivalent control group design. DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS: Questionnaires documented PTSD symptoms, violent behavior, alcohol and drug use, employment status, and medical status at the time of program entry and four months after discharge from the hospital to the community. Administrative databases were used to identify participants in the CWT program. Propensity scores were used to match CWT participants and other patients, and hierarchical linear modeling was used to evaluate differences in outcomes between treatment groups on seven outcomes. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The propensity scaling method created groups that were not significantly different on any measure. No greater improvement was observed among CWT participants than among other patients on any of seven outcome measures. CONCLUSIONS: Substantively this study suggests that work therapy, as currently practiced in VA, is not an effective intervention, at least in the short term, for chronic, war-related PTSD. Methodologically it illustrates the use of outcomes monitoring data to screen previously untested treatments and the use of propensity scoring and hierarchical linear modeling to adjust for selection biases in observational studies. (+info)