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Am J Addict. 1999 Summer;8(3):220-33.

Inpatient alcohol treatment in a private healthcare setting: which patients benefit and at what cost?

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104-6178, USA.


This study investigated whether selected patients have better outcomes with inpatient than outpatient treatment. There were 93 inpatients and 80 outpatients with alcohol dependence who were evaluated at treatment entry to a private healthcare setting. Patients with multiple drinking-related consequences were less likely to return to significant drinking in the first 3 months after treatment ended if they had attended inpatient compared to outpatient treatment. Thus, inpatient appeared to have some advantage over outpatient treatment in the early recovery period for patients with multiple drinking-related consequences. The gap between inpatient and outpatient costs was also reduced when computed as a cost-effectiveness ratio, although treatment costs continued to remain proportionally higher with inpatient than outpatient treatment.

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