Healthcare resource utilization and costs by disease severity in an insured national sample of US patients with chronic hepatitis B

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Journal of hepatology


BACKGROUND & AIMS: Chronic hepatitis B (CHB) affects over 2 million people in the US, with little reported on healthcare utilization and cost. We aimed to quantify annual CHB utilization and costs by disease severity and payer type.

METHODS: Using Commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid databases from 2004 to 2015 and ICD9 codes, we retrospectively identified adults with CHB, analyzing all-cause inpatient, outpatient, and pharmaceutical utilization and costs by disease severity. We compared healthcare utilization and costs between patients with CHB, without advanced liver disease, and matched non-CHB controls. All-cause inpatient, outpatient, and pharmaceutical utilization and costs were reported for each year and adjusted to 2015 dollars.

RESULTS: Our sample consisted of 33,904 CHB cases and 86,072 non-CHB controls. All-cause inpatient admissions (average stay 6-10 days) were more frequent in advanced liver disease states. Across all payers, patients with decompensated cirrhosis had the highest emergency department utilization (1.6-2.8 annual visits) and highest mean annual costs. The largest all-cause cost components for Commercial and Medicaid were inpatient costs for all advanced liver disease groups (Commercial: 62%, 47%, 68%; Medicaid: 81%, 72%, 74%, respectively), and decompensated cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma groups for Medicare (Medicare 49% and 48%). In addition, patients with compensated liver disease incurred costs 3 times higher than non-CHB controls.

CONCLUSION: Patients with CHB, regardless of payer, who experienced decompensated cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, or a liver transplant incurred the highest annual costs and utilization of healthcare resources, but even patients with CHB and compensated liver disease incurred higher costs than those without CHB. All stakeholders in disease management need to combine efforts to prevent infection and advanced liver disease through improved vaccination rates, earlier diagnosis, and treatment.

LAY SUMMARY: Hepatitis B virus can be a progressive disease leading to cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, liver transplant, and death. These progressive disease states are associated with a higher rate of hospitalizations, emergency room visits, outpatient visits, and costs compared to similar patients without hepatitis B. The most ill patients have the highest costs, but even patients who are less sick experience higher costs than patients without hepatitis B.

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