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Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 1994 Nov;16(6):381-7.

Effectiveness of psychiatric intervention with somatization disorder patients: improved outcomes at reduced costs.

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NIMH Center for Rural Mental Healthcare Research Little Rock, Arkansas.


In order to determine the health effects of an intervention that reduces the cost of care for somatization disorder (SD) patients, 59 primary care physicians were randomized to receive a psychiatric consultation letter providing treatment recommendations for 73 patients either at baseline or the end of the year-long study. Seventy of these patients (96%) were followed every 4 months for 1 year by a research assistant blind to randomization. A year following the intervention, patients of experimental physicians reported greater physical capacity than patients of control physicians (mean difference = 17.9, 95% CI 1.0-34.9) with a $466 reduction (95% CI $132-$699) in health care charges. In addition to a net 21% reduction in health care charges for the typical SD patient, the consultation letter improved physical functioning in a group of highly impaired subjects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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