Injuries Related to Osteoporosis Cost State $2.4 Billion Per Year, UCSF Study Finds
Treatment and care for state residents with injuries related to osteoporosis costs about $2.4 billion per year, according to a study in this month's issue of Osteoporosis International, the Oakland Tribune reports. The study, the first analysis of the "financial toll" of osteoporosis in California, found that hospitalizations and nursing home care for hip fractures accounted for 64% of the cost of injuries related to the disease (Bohan, Oakland Tribune, 6/17). According to the study, the costs related to osteoporosis injuries also include physician services, prescription drugs, emergency room visits and home health care. In addition to costs related to injuries, osteoporosis costs $4 million per year in the state in "lost productivity resulting from premature death." The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California-San Francisco, also found that whites account for 80% of state residents hospitalized for osteoporosis and that seniors account for 75%. The disease affects "mostly women," the study found. UCSF researchers said that the state should spend more on osteoporosis research and on programs to educate the public about the disease. Although more than 400 California residents died in 1998 after a bone fracture, health officials in the state only recorded osteoporosis as the cause of death in 90 cases, Wendy Max, co-director of the Institute for Health and Aging at the UCSF School of Nursing, said. "This is a hidden disease in that the diagnosis 'osteoporosis' is rarely recorded as the main reason for a hospitalization" Max said, adding, "With the aging of baby boomers, we have to educate women and men about the risks of osteoporosis at early ages to prevent illness and disability at later ages." The Department of Health Services sponsored the study (Ascribe News, 6/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.