patient costs

A longitudinal study among 735 new TB cases was conducted from January 2015 through June 2016 in 10 woredas (districts) of southwestern Ethiopia. Between onset of illness and anti-TB treatment course, patients incurred a median of US$201.48. Of the total cost, the indirect and direct costs respectively constituted 70.6 and 29.4%. TB patients incurred a median of US$97.62 and US$93.75 during the pre- and post-diagnosis periods, respectively. Thus, patients incurred 53.6% of the total cost during the pre-diagnosis period. Direct out-of-pocket expenses during the pre- and post-diagnosis periods respectively amount to median of US$21.64 and US$35.02. Patient delay days, provider delay days, number of healthcare facilities visited until TB diagnosis, and TB diagnosis at private facilities independently predicted increased pre-diagnosis cost. Similarly, rural residence, hospitalization during anti-TB treatment, patient delay days, and provider delay days predicted increased post-diagnosis costs. TB patients incur substantial cost for care seeking and treatment despite “free service” for TB. Therefore, promoting early care seeking, decentralizing efficient diagnosis, and treatment services within reach of peoples, and introducing reimbursement system for direct costs can help minimize financial burden to the patient.

Ethiopia has a high prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) and is one of the countries with the highest burden of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). This study's purpose was to understand the costs that patients incur in obtaining diagnosis and treatment for MDR-TB. In March 2013, interviews were conducted with 169 MDR-TB patients at three hospitals in Ethiopia to identify the cost to patients and the impact on employment and family income. The average MDR-TB patient incurred a total cost of US$1378, which represented 25 months of a mid-treatment household income of US$54. The impact on the patient's employment and on overall patient and family income was generally catastrophic: 74% of all respondents reported losing their jobs, 66% of patients lost household income, and household income was reduced by 38%. To help cover the costs, 38% of patients sold some type of property, while 7% leased out property and 41% took out loans, any of which could jeopardize their future financial situation even further. Despite services being officially free of charge, most patients incurred catastrophic costs and suffered significant income loss as a result of obtaining diagnosis and treatment for MDR-TB.

TB data for 2015 were combined with cost data using a simple type of cost-benefit analysis in a decision tree model to show the economic burden under different scenarios. In Indonesia, there were an estimated 1, 017,378 new active TB cases in 2015, including multidrug-resistant TB. It is estimated that 417,976 of these cases would be treated and cured, 160,830 would be unsuccessfully treated and would die, 131,571 would be untreated and would achieve cure spontaneously, and 307,000 would be untreated and would die. The total economic burden related to treated and untreated cases would be approximately US$6.9 billion. Loss of productivity due to premature death would be by far the largest element, comprising US$6.0 billion (discounted), which represents 86.6% of the total cost. Loss of productivity due to illness would be US$700 million (10.1%), provider medical costs US$156 million (2.2%), and direct non-medical costs incurred by patients and their households US$74 million (1.1%). The economic burden of TB in Indonesia is extremely high. Detecting and treating more cases would result not only in major reductions in suffering but also in economic savings to society.

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