• Cost-effectiveness of implementing objective diagnostic verification of asthma in the United States

      Yaghoubi, M.; Adibi, A.; Zafari, Z. (Mosby Inc., 2020)
      Background: Asthma diagnosis in the community is often made without objective testing. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of implementing a stepwise objective diagnostic verification algorithm among patients with community-diagnosed asthma in the United States. Methods: We developed a probabilistic time-in-state cohort model that compared a stepwise asthma verification algorithm on the basis of spirometry testing and a methacholine challenge test against the current standard of care over 20 years. Model input parameters were informed from the literature and with original data analyses when required. The target population was US adults (≥15 years old) with physician-diagnosed asthma. The final outcomes were costs (in 2018 dollars) and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), discounted at 3% annually. Deterministic and probabilistic analyses were undertaken to examine the effect of alternative assumptions and uncertainty in model parameters on the results. Results: In a simulated cohort of 10,000 adults with diagnosed asthma, the stepwise algorithm resulted in removal of the diagnosis of 3,366. This was projected to be associated with savings of $36.26 million in direct costs and a gain of 4,049.28 QALYs over 20 years. Extrapolating these results to the US population indicated an undiscounted potential savings of $56.48 billion over 20 years. The results were robust against alternative assumptions and plausible changes in values of input parameters. Conclusion: Implementation of a simple diagnostic testing algorithm to verify asthma diagnosis might result in substantial savings and improvement in patients' quality of life. Copyright 2019 The Authors
    • The trade-off between optimizing flight patterns and human health: A case study of aircraft noise in queens, NY, USA

      Zafari, Z.; Jiao, B.; Will, B. (MDPI AG, 2018)
      Objectives: Airports in the U.S. have gradually been transitioning to automated flight systems. These systems generate new flight paths over populated areas. While they can improve flight efficiency, the increased noise associated with these novel flight patterns potentially pose serious health threats to the overflown communities. In this case study, we estimated the monetary benefits relative to health losses associated with one significant change in flight patterns at LaGuardia Airport, year-round use of “TNNIS Climb”, which happened in 2012 as a result of flight automation in New York City. Prior to that, the use of the TNNIS Climb was limited to the U.S. Open tennis matches. Methods: We developed a decision-analytic model using Markov health states to compare the costs and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained associated with the limited use of TNNIS (old status quo) and the year-round use of TNNIS (current status quo). The TNNIS Climb increases airplane noise to above 60 decibels (dB) over some of the most densely populated areas of the city. We used this increased exposure to noise as the basis for estimating ground-level health using data from sound monitors. The total costs (including both direct and indirect costs), QALYs, and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) were estimated for the limited versus the year-round use of the TNNIS Climb. Results: The incremental lifetime costs and QALYs per person exposed to noise associated with the limited versus the year-round use of TNNIS was $11,288, and 1.13, respectively. Therefore, the limited use of TNNIS had an ICER of $10,006/QALY gained relative to the year-round of TNNIS. Our analyses were robust to changes in assumptions and data inputs. Conclusions: Despite increases in efficiency, flight automation systems without a careful assessment of noise might generate flight paths over densely populated areas and cause serious health conditions for the overflown communities. Copyright 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
    • Unseen Costs: The Direct and Indirect Impact of U.S. Immigration Policies on Child and Adolescent Health and Well-Being

      Mattingly, T.J. II; Kiser, L.; Hill, S.; Briggs, E.C.; Trunzo, C.P.; Zafari, Z.; Betancourt, T.S. (John Wiley and Sons Inc., 2020)
      Shifts in migration and border control policies may increase the likelihood of trauma exposure related to child-parent separation and result in costs to the health system and society. In the present study, we estimated direct and indirect costs per child as well as overall cohort costs of border control policies on migrant children and adolescents who were separated from their parents, detained, and placed in the custody of the United States following the implementation of the 2018 Zero Tolerance Policy. Economic modeling techniques, including a Markov process and Monte Carlo simulation, based on data from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network's Core Data Set (N = 458 migrant youth) and published studies were used to estimate economic costs associated with three immigration policies: No Detention, Family Detention, and Zero Tolerance. Clinical evaluation data on mental health symptoms and disorders were used to estimate the initial health state and risks associated with additional trauma exposure for each scenario. The total direct and indirect costs per child were conservatively estimated at $33,008, $33,790, and $34,544 after 5 years for No Detention, Family Detention, and Zero Tolerance, respectively. From a health system perspective, annual estimated spending increases ranged from $1.5 million to $14.9 million for Family Detention and $2.8 million to $29.3 million for Zero Tolerance compared to baseline spending under the No Detention scenario. Border control policies that increase the likelihood of child and adolescent trauma exposure are not only morally troubling but may also create additional economic concerns in the form of direct health care costs and indirect societal costs. Copyright 2020 The Authors.