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Is there a disproportional increase in health care costs for schizophrenic patients?



Is there a disproportional increase in health care costs for schizophrenic patients?



Der Nervenarzt 70(9): 817-822



Empirical data on costs of care for chronically mentally ill patients in Germany are rare. There is a lack of cross-sectional studies as well as of any analysis of the long-term course of mental health care costs. This study combines data from two cost-studies on patients with schizophrenia, conducted in the same catchment area at an interval of 15 years, to draw conclusions about the long-term course of these costs. The direct costs of comprehensive community based mental health care had increased by 77.0% during 15 years, while the costs of a permanent stay in a long-term ward of a psychiatric hospital had increased by 78.5% in the same period. This increase was 27 and 28.5 per cent higher than the general rise in cost of living in Germany during the interval between the two studies. This higher-than-average increase in mental health care costs was accompanied by a much higher cost-effectiveness. Thus, this rise of costs must be seen as a consequence of the great deficits and the resulting basic improvement of care for chronically mentally ill patients in Germany, which was demanded by an expert-commission of the government in the mid-seventies.

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Accession: 046479972

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PMID: 10522250


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