Primary health-care costs associated with special health care needs up to age 7 years : Australian population-based study

Journal article


Quach, Jon, Oberklaid, Frank, Gold, Lisa, Lucas, Nina, Mensah, Fiona K. and Wake, Melissa. (2014). Primary health-care costs associated with special health care needs up to age 7 years : Australian population-based study. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. 50(10), pp. 768-774. https://doi.org/10.1111/jpc.12649
AuthorsQuach, Jon, Oberklaid, Frank, Gold, Lisa, Lucas, Nina, Mensah, Fiona K. and Wake, Melissa
Abstract

Aim
We studied infants and children with and without special health care needs (SHCN) during the first 8 years of life to compare the (i) types and costs to the government's Medicare system of non-hospital health-care services and prescription medication in each year and (ii) cumulative costs according to persistence of SHCN.

Methods
Data from the first two biennial waves of the nationally representative Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, comprising two independent cohorts recruited in 2004, at ages 0–1 (n = 5107) and 4–5 (n = 4983) years. Exposure condition: parent-reported Children with Special Health Care Needs Screener at both waves, spanning ages 0–7 years. Outcome measure: Federal Government Medicare expenditure, via data linkage to the Medicare database, on non-hospital health-care attendances and prescriptions from birth to 8 years.

Results
At both waves and in both cohorts, >92% of children had complete SHCN and Medicare data. The proportion of children with SHCN increased from 6.1% at age 0–1 years to 15.0% at age 6–7 years. Their additional Medicare costs ranged from $491 per child at 6–7 years to $1202 at 0–1 year. This equates to an additional $161.8 million annual cost or 0.8% of federal funding for non-hospital-based health care. In both cohorts, costs were highest for children with persistent SHCNs.

Conclusions
SHCNs incur substantial non-hospital costs to Medicare, and no doubt other sources of care, from early childhood. This suggests that economic evaluations of early prevention and intervention services for SHCNs should consider impacts on not only the child and family but also the health-care system.

Keywordschild; economics; health service research; infant; longitudinal study; special health care need
Year2014
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Journal citation50 (10), pp. 768-774
PublisherBlackwell Publishing
ISSN1034-4810
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/jpc.12649
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84908260655
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range768-774
FunderNational Health and Medical Research Council
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online13 Jun 2014
Publication process dates
Accepted27 Apr 2014
Deposited09 Sep 2021
Grant IDNHMRC/436914
NHMRC/1037449
NHMRC/1035100
NHMRC/1046518
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