The Health and Human Capital Foundation, the research affiliate of the HCMS Group, and Biosense Webster have recently published an article in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine entitled “Economic Impact to Employers of Treatment Options for Cardiac Arrhythmias in the US Health System.” Using the broad array of data found in the HCMS Research Reference Database, this study measured employer-sponsored costs after ablation therapy for cardiac arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation. Employees and spouses who had cardiac arrhythmias with and without ablation were compared. Regression-adjusted monthly medical, pharmacy, sick leave, and short-term disability costs were calculated 11 months before to 36 months after the first ablation date (or average date for non-ablation patients). From these cost estimates, we were able to calculate the time until the ablation procedure costs were recovered.
The study found that few arrhythmia patients received ablation therapy (280 of 11,291 patients, or 2.5%). However, the patients with ablation cost less afterwards than those without. Estimated total ablation-period costs were recovered 38 to 50 months after the ablation treatment, a time frame well within the average tenure of the employees in the study. Also, employee absence payments during the time of the treatment were recovered within only 18 months. The study provides evidence showing that current ablation use in employer-sponsored health plans may improve health care and absence costs over time.
Read more about this research at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21407098.