Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Depression Screening Program Saves Money for Employers

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Depression Screening Program Saves Money for Employers

Article excerpt

For employers, the savings generated by a low-intensity depression screening and management program for workers more than offset the costs, according to Dr. Philip S. Wang of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, and his associates.

The researchers examined the economic costs and benefits of a workplace depression intervention from the perspectives of society as a whole and of employers.

They devised a statistical model comparing usual care--that is, care-seeking and treatment patterns that typically occur in the absence of a workplace program--with a program comprising a one-time workplace quick screen for depression followed by telephone "care management" by master's-level clinicians.

The model incorporated a mix of adequate and sub-optimal treatments "to reflect the varying quality of treatment observed in typical practice." It took into account recovery and relapse rates drawn from randomized clinical trials of care rendered by primary care physicians as well as by psychiatrists.

The model also incorporated hospitalization costs, prescription medicine costs, and costs of physician's visits, as well as the costs of worker absenteeism and lost productivity resulting from untreated or inadequately treated depression. …

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