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Healthc Policy. 2006 Jan;1(2):135-51.

The cost-effectiveness of expanding intensive behavioural intervention to all autistic children in Ontario: in the past year, several court cases have been brought against provincial governments to increase funding for Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI). This economic evaluation examines the costs and consequences of expanding an IBI program.

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1
Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, ON.

Abstract

Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) describes behavioural therapies provided to autistic children to overcome intellectual and functional disabilities. The high cost of IBI has caused concern regarding access, and recently, several court cases have been brought against provincial governments to increase funding for this intervention. This economic evaluation assessed the costs and consequences of expanding an IBI program from current coverage for one-third of children to all autistic children aged two to five in Ontario, Canada. Data on the hours and costs of IBI, and costs of educational and respite services, were obtained from the government. Data on program efficacy were obtained from the literature. These data were modelled to determine the incremental cost savings and gains in dependency-free life years. Total savings from expansion of the current program were $45,133,011 in 2003 Canadian dollars. Under our model parameters, expansion of IBI to all eligible children represents a cost-saving policy whereby total costs of care for autistic individuals are lower and gains in dependency-free life years are higher. Sensitivity analyses carried out to address uncertainty and lack of good evidence for IBI efficacy and appropriate discount rates yielded mixed results: expansion was not cost saving with discount rates of 5% or higher and with lower IBI efficacy beyond a certain threshold. Further research on the efficacy of IBI is recommended.

PMID:
19305662
PMCID:
PMC2585334
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