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National Health Reform is Essential
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  1. National Health Reform isEssential Mady Chalk, Ph.D. Director, Center for Policy Research and Analysis Treatment Research Institute Philadelphia, PA

  2. National Health Reform is Essential BACKGROUND: Substance use disorders are most often a chronic disease and affect about 9.5% of the general population (over 24 million Americans over the age of 12): • Of those, 3% or 7 million people are current users of prescription drugs taken non-medically; • Among the elderly, about 8% have been identified as heavy drinkers;

  3. National Health Reform is Essential BACKGROUND: • Substance use disorders are associated with over 110,000 deaths per year and are the 2nd leading cause of disability (WHO, 2003) • Pre-deployment data indicates that approximately 8% of military service members are heavy weekly drinkers, 45% engage in binge drinking, and 11% report at least one alcohol-related problem (Jacobson et al., 2008) with substance dependence and PTSD a significant clinical problem for returning veterans (Eggleston et al., 2009)

  4. National Health Reform is Essential BACKGROUND: • Public funding constitutes the vast majority of treatment dollars—over 80% of all expenditures for treatment • Federal, state, and local governments pay twice for this care—in the 20-40% of uncompensated care (mostly in hospitals and ERs) and the 50-75% rates of jail and prison costs for untreated addicted offenders • Yet, only about 10% of those identified are treated in the specialty treatment system and over 40% of those who try to get help are denied treatment because of cost or insurance barriers

  5. National Health Reform is Essential PROBLEM I. Substance use disorders are prevalent throughout the healthcare system: • While 9.5% of the general population (about the same as Type II Diabetes) and 2.5 million adolescentsare substance dependent, SUBSTANCE DEPENDENCE AFFECTS 22% OF THOSE IN MEDICAL SETTINGS; • Among young adults between 18 and 34, 10-20% are dependent on alcohol or drugs, but about 90% RECEIVE NO CARE (Wu, et al, 2003).

  6. National Health Reform is Essential Problem II.Health care costs increase for people with substance use disorders: • Individuals with untreated substance use disorders have higher medical costs than those without such disorders (Clark et al. 2009) especially for emergency department visits and hospitalizations • Individuals with substance use disorders use about 8 times more healthcare services

  7. Problem II (con’t): • Families of untreated individuals with substance use disorders have significantly higher medical costs than other families (Ray et al. 2000) • In fact, families of such individuals use about 5 times more health care driven by hospitalizations, pharmacy costs, and primary care visits • One in eight (about 13%) of non-elderly veterans are uninsured and about half of those are not eligible for VA healthcare (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2008)

  8. National Health Reform is Essential Problem III. Hospital Stays: • Drug or alcohol use disorders are identified in about 3% of all hospital stays in the U.S., totaling about $12 billion in hospital costs (AHRQ, 2006 and 2007); • For the uninsured, the emergency department is the entry point for more than 50% of hospital stays for drug use disorders and over 75% of alcohol use disorders. • Among both the uninsured and Medicaid patients, 25% of hospital stays are the result of alcohol use disorders (AHRQ, 2005) • Almost 20% of Medicaid hospital costs and nearly $1 of every $4 spent on inpatient care by Medicare, is associated with substance use.

  9. National Health Reform is Essential Problem IV. Costs for Businesses Are High: • Health care costs for businesses are significant due to premature death and illness. Of the 53 million binge or heavy drinkers, 80% are employed as are about 75% of the 17 million illicit drug users (NHSDUH, 2005). • While about 70% of individuals with substance use disorders are employed, more than 35% are NOT insured • Compared to the insured, uninsured workers are about twice as likely to be heavy alcohol users or to report illicit drug use in the past month and less than 25% report access to EAPs (Spicer, 2006)

  10. National Health Reform is Essential SOME SOLUTIONS: A. Treatment Penetration for Substance Use Disorders: • States that have increased treatment penetration rates have reduced Medicaid costs by over 10% in two years and about 18% within 4 years—this is the best case for how health reform can control costs. • Treatment leads to a decrease in Medicaid costs of about 5% in five-year period (Luchansky et al. 1997) • In a separate study, treatment for Medicaid patients in a comprehensive HMO reduced medical costs by 30% per treatment member; reductions were in all major areas of health case use (Walter et al., 2005)

  11. National Health Reform is Essential B. Early and Economical Screening and Brief Interventions (SBI) in Healthcare Settings Has Reduced Substance Use and Saved Dollars: • Inpatient and ER costs decline by about 39% and 35% respectively following treatment (Parthasarathy et al. 2001); • Total medical costs per patient per month decline from $431 to $200 following treatment (Parthasarathy et al. 2003).

  12. National Health Reform is Essential C. Use of Medications in Treatment: • Use of medications in treatment of opioid addiction has led to significant reductions in healthcare costs in Medicaid populations, primarily related to reductions in hospitalizations (Center for Health Program Development and Management, 2007) • For alcohol dependent patients, use of medications in treatment again shows a significant reduction in hospital and ER costs, while increasing the use of outpatient psychiatric visits - which may be considered a positive finding

  13. National Health Reform is Essential Questions or Requests for Further Information: E-mail: mchalk@tresearch.org Phone: 215/399-0980, Ext. 103 or 202/362-0021