Problem drinking, health services utilization, and the cost of medical care.

P. K. Alexandre, M. C. Roebuck, M. T. French, D. D. Chitwood, C. B. McCoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between problem drinking, health services utilization, and the cost of medical care in a community-based setting. In addition to descriptive analyses, these relationships were estimated with multivariate regression models. Data were collected in 1996 and 1997 through a standardized self-administered questionnaire designed to obtain important information on demographics, health status, morbidity, health care utilization, drug and alcohol use, and related lifestyle behaviors. The survey instrument also included the 10-item Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (MAST-10), which was used to identify problematic alcohol users (PAUs). The empirical findings indicated that PAUs had a significantly higher number of outpatient visits, more emergency room episodes, and more admissions to a hospital than a combined group of nondrinkers and nonproblematic alcohol users (NPAUs). Analyses of total health care cost showed that the estimated differential in total cost for PAUs during the past year, including the interaction effect with problematic drug use, was $367. The total cost (full effect) for PAUs was composed of a main effect ($984) and an interaction effect (-$617). These findings have implications for substance abuse interventions and health care policy.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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