Kristine E. Ensrud MD MPH Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and Community Health
University of Minnesota
Core Investigator, Center for Care Delivery and Outcomes Research
Minneapolis VA Health Care System
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Women aged 80 years and older, a rapidly growing segment of the population, account for the majority of hip fractures in the United States. Hip fractures account for 72% of fracture-related health care expenditures and lead to significant morbidity and mortality. However, many late-life women at high risk of hip fracture are undiagnosed. Clinicians have difficulty identifying late-life women most likely to benefit from osteoporosis screening and interventions to prevent hip fracture in part due to concerns about comorbidity burden and prognosis in this patient population. Continue reading →
Kandice A. Kapinos, Ph.D. Economist
Pardee RAND Graduate School
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: The economic burden of osteoporotic fractures is substantial with studies estimating the annual healthcare cost burden between $10 to 17 billion. Although estimates from individual studies vary, most studies assessing costs after a fracture only explore up to twelve months following a fracture. There is little investigation of how fracture patients’ costs evolve over a longer post-fracture period.
As osteoporotic fractures are one of the most common causes of disability among older adults and can translate into greater medical costs, we focused on studying Medicare beneficiaries. In fact, previous research has suggested that most of the increase in Medicare spending over time can be explained from costs associated with treating higher risk Medicare beneficiaries.
Our objective in this study was to compare health care costs over a 3-year period of those who experienced a fracture to those who did not among a sample of Medicare beneficiaries who were at an increased risk of having a fracture.
Consistent with previous studies, we found a significant increase in expenditures in the year immediately following a fracture relative to controls: almost $14,000 higher for fractures relative to controls. However, at 2 and 3-years post-fracture, there were no significant differences in the change in expenditures between fracture cases and controls. We note that these findings may be different for beneficiaries living in skilled nursing facilities or other non-community-based settings.
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