The economic burden of end-organ damage among medicaid patients with sickle cell disease in the United States: A population-based longitudinal claims study

Andrew Campbell, Ze Cong, Irene Agodoa, Xue Song, Diane J. Martinez, Danae Black, Carolyn R. Lew, Helen Varker, Chris Chan, Sophie Lanzkron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: The management of sickle cell disease (SCD), an inherited, chronic, and multifaceted condition, is associated with considerable health care resource utilization (HRU) and costs, especially for Medicaid. Anemia affects most patients with SCD and correlates with end-organ damage (EOD), such as stroke, chronic kidney disease (CKD), end-stage renal disease (ESRD), and pulmonary hypertension (PH). Limited research has been conducted to quantify the economic burden of EOD among patients with SCD. OBJECTIVE: To estimate the effect of EOD on HRU and direct costs and productivity loss incurred by patients with SCD on Medicaid. METHODS: Patients with ≥3 nondiagnostic SCD ICD-9-CM/ICD-10-CM codes in ≤5 years (January 1, 2013-December 31, 2017) were identified in the MarketScan Medicaid claims database. The earliest SCD diagnosis date was the index date. Continuous enrollment at least 3 months before and 1 month after the index date were required. Patients' post-index periods were divided into 3-month intervals (referred to as “intervals”). History of stroke, CKD, ESRD, and PH were identified in patients' claims histories from January 1, 2008. Intervals within 1 year and more than 1 year after an acute stroke event were also defined. All-cause HRU, direct costs, and productivity losses were summed across intervals and stratified by EOD type. Multivariate regression models were used to estimate the effect of stroke, CKD, ESRD, and PH on annual total cost, inpatient days, and number of emergency department visits by controlling for patients' demographic characteristics and other SCD complications. RESULTS: In total, 10,784 Medicaid patients with SCD (average age: 18.5 years; female: 54.5%) contributed to 152,455 intervals. Approximately 12% of the intervals had EOD. Patients with EOD had higher all-cause health care costs and more inpatient days, emergency department visits, outpatient visits, laboratory tests, and outpatient pharmacy claims than patients without EOD. After controlling for patient characteristics, among Medicaid patients with SCD annual costs within 1 year after stroke were 4.68-fold versus patients with no EOD (more than 1 year after stroke: 2.08-fold; CKD: 2.19-fold; ESRD: 3.40-fold; PH: 2.32-fold). Adjusted mean annual costs for adult patients with SCD on Medicaid were $285,816 and $127,393 within 1 year and more than 1 year after stroke and $135,493, $209,172, and $148,174 for CKD, ESRD, and PH, respectively. Patients with multiple SCD complications had even higher costs. The mean annual time patients with SCD spent receiving health care services ranged from 56 to 62 days for those with EOD versus 21 to 25 days among those without EOD, which created additional economic burden. CONCLUSIONS: When Medicaid patients with SCD experience EOD, the economic burden is significantly increased through direct costs to the health care system and indirect costs from productivity loss to society. SCD management strategies that potentially reduce the risk of EOD offer clinical and economic value to patients and society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1121-1129
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Health Policy


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