Aim — The First Episode Mood and Anxiety Disorder Program (FEMAP) provides treatment to emerging adults with mood and anxiety disorders in an accessible, youth-friendly environment. We sought to investigate FEMAP's impact on the costs of care.
Methods — We conducted a retrospective observational study of one-year health service costs using linked administrative datasets to compare emerging adults treated at FEMAP (FEMAP users) to propensity-score matched controls (non-users). Costs from the perspective of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, included drug benefit claims, inpatient, physician and ambulatory care services. We used bootstrapping to perform unadjusted comparisons between FEMAP users and non-users, by cost category and overall. We performed risk-adjusted comparison of overall costs using generalized estimating equations.
Results — FEMAP users (n = 366) incurred significantly lower costs compared to non-users (n = 660), for inpatient services (-$784, 95% confidence interval [CI] -$1765, -$28), ambulatory care services (-$90, 95% CI -$175, -$14) and drug benefit claims (-$47, 95% CI -$115,-$4) and significantly higher physician services costs ($435, 95% CI $276, $581) over 1 year. The unadjusted difference in overall costs was not significant (-$853, 95% CI -$2048, $142). Following adjustment for age, sex and age at first mental health diagnosis, the difference of -$914 (95% CI (-$2747, $919)) was also not significant.
Conclusions — FEMAP was associated with significantly lower costs of inpatient and ambulatory care services, and higher costs of physician services, however we are unable to conclude that FEMAP is cost-saving overall.