Badger, T. A., Sikorskii, A., Segrin, C., Given, C. W.
PURPOSE: To compare costs and relative cost savings from reductions in unscheduled health services use for two 8-week psychosocial interventions (telephone interpersonal counseling [TIPC], supportive health education [SHE]) delivered by telephone to Latinas with breast cancer and their informal caregivers. Cost information is required before adopting supportive care interventions as part of routine care. There is limited information on costs of producing supportive care interventions or their impact on service use. METHODS: Latinas and their caregivers were randomized to either TIPC or SHE. At baseline and month 4, hospitalizations and urgent care and emergency department (ED) visits in the previous month were recorded. These were compared by trial arm for 181 survivors and 169 caregivers using logistic regression, adjusting for age and health services use at baseline. RESULTS: Total cost per 100 survivors was $28,695 for SHE and $27,399 for TIPC. Urgent care and ED visits were reduced for survivors in SHE versus TIPC (odds ratio (OR) = 0.31, 95% confidence interval (CI) [0.12, 0.88], p = .03). For hospitalizations, OR for SHE versus TIPC was 0.59, 95% CI [0.26, 1.37], p = .07. There were no differences between trial arms for caregiver health services use. Cost savings for SHE versus TIPC from reductions in health services use per 100 survivors ranged from $800 for urgent care to $17,000 for ED visits and $13,000 for hospitalizations. CONCLUSIONS: Based on this evidence, SHE can be a cost-saving supportive care solution that benefits not only survivors and caregivers, but also oncology practices reimbursed through episodes of care.