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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


BARROSO UTRA, Isabel M. et al. The direct costs of home care in Cuba. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2007, vol.21, n.2-3, pp.85-95. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze home care services in Cuba and determine how length of stay, per-day cost, and per-patient cost vary by diagnosis and by the area of the country in which the services are rendered. METHODS: Patient information was analyzed for 837 individuals who were enrolled in home care services between July 2001 and June 2002 in the following four municipalities: (1) Playa municipality (a metropolitan urban area) in the province of the City of Havana; Cruces municipality (an urban, but not metropolitan, area) in the province of Cienfuegos; Unión de Reyes municipality (a rural area) in the province of Matanzas; and Fomento municipality (a mountainous rural area) in the province of Sancti Spiritus Analysis of the mean length of stay for home care services was conducted using the Kaplan-Meier survival curve method. The impact of the following criteria on the probability and timing of discharge was also assessed: diagnosis at time of enrollment (respiratory, gastrointestinal, obstetrical/gynecological, hospital discharge follow-up, and other causes), area in which services were rendered, and patient gender and age. The total service, per-patient, and per-day costs were determined for each municipality. Adjusted multilinear regression models were used to determine how length of stay, diagnosis upon enrollment, and service area affected cost. RESULTS: The diagnoses most frequently requiring home care were respiratory illness (31.4%), hospital follow-up of acute condition (15.5%), obstetrical/ gynecological illness (10.8%), and gastrointestinal disorder (8.1%). The mean length of stay was 6 days (95% confidence interval: 5.75 to 6.25). In Fomento, the probability of patients enrolling in home care was 66% lower than in Cruces and 30% lower than in Playa and Unión de Reyes. The total direct cost of home care in the municipalities studied ranged, in Cuban pesos, from $3 983.54 to $9 624.87. The per-day cost ranged from $2.57 to $6.88, and the per-patient cost from $23.04 to $42.78. The length of stay had a direct impact on per-patient cost (P < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: A longer length of stay was observed in the mountainous rural area; however, this was where the lowest per-patient and per-day costs were incurred. Length of stay can be used as an indicator for measuring the quality of home care services. From a cost perspective, length of stay must be evaluated based on diagnosis and geographic area.

Keywords : Hospital-based home care services; length of stay; health expenditures; Cuba.

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