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Incremental benefits and cost of coordinated anxiety learning and management for anxiety treatment in primary care

  • J. M. Joesch (a1), C. D. Sherbourne (a2), G. Sullivan (a3), M. B. Stein (a4), M. G. Craske (a5) and P. Roy-Byrne (a1)...

Abstract

Background

Improving the quality of mental health care requires integrating successful research interventions into ‘real-world’ practice settings. Coordinated Anxiety Learning and Management (CALM) is a treatment-delivery model for anxiety disorders encountered in primary care. CALM offers cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medication, or both; non-expert care managers assisting primary care clinicians with adherence promotion and medication optimization; computer-assisted CBT delivery; and outcome monitoring. This study describes incremental benefits, costs and net benefits of CALM versus usual care (UC).

Method

The CALM randomized, controlled effectiveness trial was conducted in 17 primary care clinics in four US cities from 2006 to 2009. Of 1062 eligible patients, 1004 English- or Spanish-speaking patients aged 18–75 years with panic disorder (PD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD) and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with or without major depression were randomized. Anxiety-free days (AFDs), quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and expenditures for out-patient visits, emergency room (ER) visits, in-patient stays and psychiatric medications were estimated based on blinded telephone assessments at baseline, 6, 12 and 18 months.

Results

Over 18 months, CALM participants, on average, experienced 57.1 more AFDs [95% confidence interval (CI) 31–83] and $245 additional medical expenses (95% CI $–733 to $1223). The mean incremental net benefit (INB) of CALM versus UC was positive when an AFD was valued ⩾$4. For QALYs based on the Short-Form Health Survey-12 (SF-12) and the EuroQol EQ-5D, the mean INB was positive at ⩾$5000.

Conclusions

Compared with UC, CALM provides significant benefits with modest increases in health-care expenditures.

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: J. M. Joesch, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington Medical Center, Box 359911, Seattle, WA 98104-2499, USA. (Email: joesch@uw.edu)

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