Cost of care for stroke victims remains high ten years after event

The study's author said preventative measures, such as reduced salt in diets, could prevent strokes.

With the recent emphasis on improving the coordination and cost-effectiveness of care, several studies have been commissioned in order to identify potential areas of improvement. One of the most recent findings that cast light on the high cost of care was published in the journal Stroke, and looked at the residual costs associated with an ischemic stroke event. 

The study looked at 243 patients with ischemic stroke and 43 patients with intracerebral hemorrhage who had survived for more than ten years. These same patients were involved in previous studies that estimated 3 to 5 year costs. 

Researchers found that the cost of ischemic stroke care barely decreased, even after ten years. The results also showed that the annual direct costs of care associated with intracerebral hemorrhage actually increased significantly over the years. 

The medical costs 3-to-5 years after a ischemic stroke averaged approximately $5,438. The costs had barely changed in the next five years, with annual costs remaining at $5207 at 10 years. 

Annual costs for a hemorrhagic stroke 3-to-5 years after the event was $5807, which inflated significantly at the ten year mark, reaching $7607 in annual costs. 

Dr Cadilhac, a co-author of the study, explained that these results highlight the important of preventative care to keep costs down. 

"Stroke is a preventable condition, and we need to be doing everything possible to prevent it in terms of managing modifiable risk factors such as blood pressure and diabetes," she wrote in a statement accompanying the report. "Greater implementation of primary prevention interventions, such as reducing salt in manufactured foods to assist in lowering blood pressure, is needed."

When treatment costs exceed a patient's ability to pay, care facilities can encounter difficulty with health insurance claims follow-up. Health insurance claims management professionals are encouraged to explore accounts receivable outsourcing to improve cash flow.