Invisible Wounds, Visible Savings?

Using Microsimulation to Estimate the Costs and Savings Associated with Providing Evidence-Based Treatment for PTSD and Depression to Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom

Published in: Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, v. 13, no. 2, June 2011, p. 201-211

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2011

by Beau Kilmer, Christine Eibner, Jeanne S. Ringel, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula

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This research used microsimulation modeling to estimate the social costs of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for the 261,827 troops deployed on June 30, 2008, for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Given current standards of care, roughly half of these individuals will be treated for these conditions in the 2 years after they return, and 30% of those treated will receive evidence-based treatment (EBT). Our results suggest that the 2-year social costs of depression and PTSD for this cohort will be $923 million. Policy simulations evaluating the savings associated with universal access to EBT suggest that such access would generate cost savings of $138 million (15%).

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