Expenditures and health status among adults with back and neck problems

back.jpg  The study below was just published in the February 13 issue of JAMA [subscription required].

Read about the study in MedPage Today and in Medical News Today.

Martin BI, Deyo RA, Mirza SK, Turner JA, Comstock BA, Hollingworth W et al. Expenditures and health status among adults with back and neck problems. JAMA 2008; 299(6):656-664.
Context: Back and neck problems are among the symptoms most commonly encountered in clinical practice. However, few studies have examined national trends in expenditures for back and neck problems or related these trends to health status measures.
Objectives: To estimate inpatient, outpatient, emergency department, and pharmacy expenditures related to back and neck problems in the United States from 1997 through 2005 and to examine associated trends in health status.
Design and Setting: Age- and sex-adjusted analysis of the nationally representative Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) from 1997 to 2005 using complex survey regression methods. The MEPS is a household survey of medical expenditures weighted to represent national estimates. Respondents were US adults (> 17 years) who self-reported back and neck problems (referred to as “spine problems” based on MEPS descriptions and International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification definitions).
Main Outcome Measures: Spine-related expenditures for health services (inflation-adjusted); annual surveys of self-reported health status.
Results: National estimates were based on annual samples of survey respondents with and without self-reported spine problems from 1997 through 2005. (See the abstract on the JAMA site.)
Conclusions: In this survey population, self-reported back and neck problems accounted for a large proportion of health care expenditures. These spine-related expenditures have increased substantially from 1997 to 2005, without evidence of corresponding improvement in self-assessed health status.

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