Enhanced Depression Care May Save Employers Money

Model suggests program would save $2895 per 1,000 workers after five years

MONDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Enhanced depression care that involves screening all workers for depression may actually be cost-effective for employers, according to the results of a study in the December issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Philip S. Wang, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues developed a hypothetical computer model to analyze the costs and benefits associated with an enhanced depression care program. The program consisted of screening all employees for depression once and then providing telephone counseling and other strategies to those with depression.

From a societal perspective, this model cost about $19,976 more per quality-adjusted life year than usual care. In a separate analysis focusing on the employers' perspective, the program would save $2,895 per 1,000 workers after five years.

"If replicated in upcoming effectiveness trials that directly assess intervention effects on work outcomes, these findings suggest that it may be in society's and purchasers' interests to more widely disseminate successful programs of outreach and improved treatment quality for depression," the researchers conclude.

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