Incremental Benefits and Cost of Coordinated Anxiety Learning and Management for Anxiety Treatment in Primary Care

Published in: Psychological Medicine, v. 42, no. 9, Sep. 2012, p. 1937-1948

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2011

by Jutta M. Joesch, Cathy D. Sherbourne, Greer Sullivan, Michelle G. Craske, Peter Roy-Byrne

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BACKGROUND: Improving the quality of mental health care requires integrating successful research interventions into 'real-world' practice settings. Coordinated Anxiety Learning and Management (CALM) is a treatment-delivery model for anxiety disorders encountered in primary care. CALM offers cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medication, or both; non-expert care managers assisting primary care clinicians with adherence promotion and medication optimization; computer-assisted CBT delivery; and outcome monitoring. This study describes incremental benefits, costs and net benefits of CALM versus usual care (UC). METHOD: The CALM randomized, controlled effectiveness trial was conducted in 17 primary care clinics in four US cities from 2006 to 2009. Of 1062 eligible patients, 1004 English- or Spanish-speaking patients aged 18–75 years with panic disorder (PD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD) and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with or without major depression were randomized. Anxiety-free days (AFDs), quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and expenditures for out-patient visits, emergency room (ER) visits, in-patient stays and psychiatric medications were estimated based on blinded telephone assessments at baseline, 6, 12 and 18 months. RESULTS: Over 18 months, CALM participants, on average, experienced 57.1 more AFDs [95% confidence interval (CI) 31–83] and $245 additional medical expenses (95% CI $–733 to $1223). The mean incremental net benefit (INB) of CALM versus UC was positive when an AFD was valued ≥$4. For QALYs based on the Short-Form Health Survey-12 (SF-12) and the EuroQol EQ-5D, the mean INB was positive at ≥$5000. CONCLUSIONS: Compared with UC, CALM provides significant benefits with modest increases in health-care expenditures.

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