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Marijic, Pavo; Murawski, Monika; Maier, Werner; Hamacher, Karina; Laub, Otto; Lang, Martin; Grill, Eva and Schwettmann, Lars (2021): Cost effects of a health coaching in children and adolescents with mental health and developmental disorders. In: Academic Pediatrics

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OBJECTIVE Health coaching (HC) aims to strengthen the role of primary care pediatricians in the treatment of children and adolescents with mental health and developmental disorders by extending consultation time and using disease-specific manuals. We evaluated the effect of HC on costs of specialized, pediatrician, and overall care. METHODS In a retrospective cohort study based on German health insurance claims data, we identified children aged up to 17 years with a newly diagnosed mental health and/or developmental disorder between 2013 and 2015. Patients getting HC were matched to patients receiving usual care. Costs were calculated for one year following the start of the treatment and compared by Two-Part and Gamma Models. Absolute costs and cost differences were calculated with bootstrapped 95% confidence intervals. RESULTS We compared 5,597 patients receiving HC with 5,597 control patients. The probability of incurring specialized care costs was similar between the groups (0.96, CI95%: 0.88; 1.05). However, for those who did incur costs, specialized care costs were significantly lower for HC-treated patients (0.77, CI95%: 0.63; 0.93). Accordingly, specialized care costs were lower by \text\euro-94 (CI95%: \text\euro-175; \text\euro-18), while pediatrician care costs were higher for HC-treated patients by \text\euro57 (CI95%: \text\euro49; \text\euro64). Hence, overall costs did not differ between the groups (\text\euro-59, CI95%: \text\euro-191; \text\euro71). CONCLUSION Provision of HC has the potential to lower the costs of specialized care, while increasing the costs of pediatrician care. Overall costs did not differ, suggesting that the additional costs incurred by the HC were offset.

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