Cost-Benefit Analysis of Childhood Asthma Management Through School-Based Clinic Programs
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Asthma is a leading chronic illness among American children. School-based health clinics (SBHCs) reduced expensive ER visits and hospitalizations through better healthcare access and monitoring in select case studies. The purpose of this study was to examine the cost-benefit of SBHC programs in managing childhood asthma nationwide for reduction in medical costs of ER, hospital and outpatient physician care and savings in opportunity social costs of lowing absenteeism and work loss and of future earnings due to premature deaths. Eight public data sources were used to compare costs of delivering primary and preventive care for childhood asthma in the US via SBHC programs, including direct medical and indirect opportunity costs for children and their parents. The costs of nurse staffing for a nationwide SBHC program were estimated at $4.55 billion compared to the estimated medical savings of $1.69 billion, including ER, hospital, and outpatient care. In contrast, estimated total savings for opportunity costs of work loss and premature death were $23.13 billion. Medical savings alone would not offset the expense of implementing a SBHC program for prevention and monitoring childhood asthma. However, even modest estimates of reducing opportunity costs of parents’ work loss would be far greater than the expense of this program. Although SBHC programs would not be expected to affect the increasing prevalence of childhood asthma, these programs would be designed to reduce the severity of asthma condition with ongoing monitoring, disease prevention and patient compliance.
KeywordsSchool health Asthma School nurse Cost-benefit
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