Coherence and Health Care Cost — RCA Actuarial Study: A Cost-Effectiveness Cohort Study

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Coherence and Health Care Cost — RCA Actuarial Study: A Cost-Effectiveness Cohort Study

Published on: 15-08-2010

Chronic stress is among the most costly health problems in terms of direct health costs, absenteeism, disability, and performance standards. The Reformed Church in America (RCA) identified stress among its clergy as a major cause of higher-than-average  health  claims  and    implemented HeartMath (HM) to help its participants manage stress and increase  physiological  resilience.  The  6-week  HM  program Revitalize you! was selected for the intervention including the emWave Personal Stress Reliever technology.
From 2006 to 2007, completion of a health risk assess-ment (HRA) provided eligible clergy with the opportunity to participate in the HM program or a lifestyle management program (LSM). Outcomes for that year were assessed with the Stress and Well-being Survey. Of 313 participants who  completed  the  survey,  149  completed  the  Revitalize you! Program,  and  164  completed  the LSM.  Well-being, stress management, resilience, and emotional vitality were significantly  improved  in  the  HM  group  as  compared  to the LSM group. In an analysis of the claims costs data for 2007 and 2008, 144 pastors who had participated in the HM program were compared to 343 non-participants (control group). Adjusted medical costs were reduced by 3.8% for HM participants in comparison with an increase of 9.0% for the control group. For the adjusted pharmacy costs, an increase of 7.9% was found compared with an increase of  13.3% for the control group. Total 2008 savings as a result of the HM program are estimated at $585 per participant, yielding a return on investment of 1.95:1.  These  findings  show  that  HM  stress-reduction  and coherence-building techniques can reduce health care costs.

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