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J Viral Hepat. 2008 Sep;15(9):634-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2893.2008.00985.x. Epub 2008 Apr 23.

Health care costs of persons with newly diagnosed hepatitis C virus: a population-based, observational study.

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1
Public Health Division, Alberta Health and Wellness, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Abstract

The objective of this paper was to conduct an analysis of the health services costs for persons who have been diagnosed with hepatitis C, from the time of diagnosis. Data were based on 1230 persons diagnosed with hepatitis C in 1998 in the Capital Health region of Alberta. Identifiers and dates of diagnosis were sent to Alberta Health and Wellness where records were linked to those of physician visits and billings, as well as hospital (inpatient and outpatient) visit records. Costs were assigned to all visits, and data were analysed for one pre- and two post-diagnosis years. Total cost per person increased from $2630 (Canadian) to $3514 between the pre- and first post-diagnosis year. They then returned to $2694 in the second post-diagnosis year. Liver-related costs were a low portion of the total in all periods, though they increased following diagnosis. Mental-health related costs were the largest component. Observational data present a more balanced picture of the costs of persons with hepatitis C, though most current estimates are not based on such data. Our results indicate that, when analysed within the picture of the entire person, liver-related costs (which have been the focus of most studies to date) are the tip of the iceberg.

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