Lack of financial barriers to pediatric cochlear implantation: impact of socioeconomic status on access and outcomes.
ABSTRACT (1) To analyze if socioeconomic status influences access to cochlear implantation in an environment with adequate Medicaid reimbursement. (2) To determine the impact of socioeconomic status on outcomes after unilateral cochlear implantation.
Retrospective cohort study.
University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital (tertiary referral center), Cleveland, Ohio.
Pediatric patients (age range, newborn to 18 years) who received unilateral cochlear implantation during the period 1996 to 2008.
Access to cochlear implantation after referral to a cochlear implant center, postoperative complications, compliance with follow-up appointments, and access to sequential bilateral cochlear implantation.
A total of 133 pediatric patients were included in this study; 64 were Medicaid-insured patients and 69 were privately insured patients. There was no statistical difference in the odds of initial cochlear implantation, age at referral, or age at implantation between the 2 groups. The odds of prelingual Medicaid-insured patients receiving sequential bilateral cochlear implantation was less than half that of the privately insured group (odds ratio [OR], 0.43; P = .03). The odds of complications in Medicaid-insured children were almost 5-fold greater than the odds for privately insured children (OR, 4.6; P = .03). There were 10 complications in 51 Medicaid-insured patients (19.6%) as opposed to 3 in 61 privately insured patients (4.9%). Medicaid-insured patients missed substantially more follow-up appointments overall (35% vs 23%) and more consecutive visits (1.9 vs 1.1) compared with privately insured patients.
In an environment with adequate Medicaid reimbursement, eligible children have equal access to cochlear implantation, regardless of socioeconomic background. However, lower socioeconomic background is associated with higher rates of postoperative complications, worse follow-up compliance, and lower rates of sequential bilateral implantation, observed herein in Medicaid-insured patients. These findings present opportunities for cochlear implant centers to create programs to address such downstream disparities.
- SourceAvailable from: Jonathan D ShenkinJournal of Evidence Based Dental Practice 03/2013; 13(1):31.
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ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES:: Cochlear implantation (CI) has become the mainstay of treatment for children with severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). Yet, despite mounting evidence of the clinical benefits of early implantation, little data are available on the long-term societal benefits and comparative effectiveness of this procedure across various ages of implantation-a choice parameter for parents and clinicians with high prognostic value for clinical outcome. As such, the aim of the present study is to evaluate a model of the consequences of the timing of this intervention from a societal economic perspective. Average cost utility of pediatric CI by age at intervention will be analyzed. DESIGN:: Prospective, longitudinal assessment of health utility and educational placement outcomes in 175 children recruited from six U.S. centers between November 2002 and December 2004, who had severe-to-profound SNHL onset within 1 year of age, underwent CI before 5 years of age, and had up to 6 years of postimplant follow-up that ended in November 2008 to December 2011. Costs of care were collected retrospectively and stratified by preoperative, operative, and postoperative expenditures. Incremental costs and benefits of implantation were compared among the three age groups and relative to a nonimplantation baseline. RESULTS:: Children implanted at <18 months of age gained an average of 10.7 quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) over their projected lifetime as compared with 9.0 and 8.4 QALYs for those implanted between 18 and 36 months and at >36 months of age, respectively. Medical and surgical complication rates were not significantly different among the three age groups. In addition, mean lifetime costs of implantation were similar among the three groups, at approximately $2000/child/year (77.5-year life expectancy), yielding costs of $14,996, $17,849, and $19,173 per QALY for the youngest, middle, and oldest implant age groups, respectively. Full mainstream classroom integration rate was significantly higher in the youngest group at 81% as compared with 57 and 63% for the middle and oldest groups, respectively (p < 0.05) after 6 years of follow-up. After incorporating lifetime educational cost savings, CI led to net societal savings of $31,252, $10,217, and $6,680 for the youngest, middle, and oldest groups at CI, respectively, over the child's projected lifetime. CONCLUSIONS:: Even without considering improvements in lifetime earnings, the overall cost-utility results indicate highly favorable ratios. Early (<18 months) intervention with CI was associated with greater and longer quality-of-life improvements, similar direct costs of implantation, and economically valuable improved classroom placement, without a greater incidence of medical and surgical complications when compared to CI at older ages.Ear and hearing 02/2013; · 2.06 Impact Factor