Murphy, Severance, Savage, Obeng-Gyasi, Timsina, Zarzaur (2019) Financial toxicity is associated with worse physical and emotional long-term outcomes after traumatic injury The journal of trauma and acute care surgery 87(5) 1189-1196


Increasing health care costs and high deductible insurance plans have shifted more responsibility for medical costs to patients. After serious illnesses, financial responsibilities may result in lost wages, forced unemployment, and other financial burdens, collectively described as financial toxicity. Following cancer treatments, financial toxicity is associated with worse long-term health-related quality of life (HRQoL) outcomes. The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence of financial toxicity following injury, factors associated with financial toxicity, and the impact of financial toxicity on long-term HRQoL. Adult patients with an Injury Severity Score of 10 or greater and without head or spinal cord injury were prospectively followed for 1 year. The Short-Form-36 was used to determine overall quality of life at 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, and 12 months. Screens for depression and posttraumatic stress syndrome were administered. The primary outcome was any financial toxicity. A multivariable generalized estimating equation was used to account for variability over time. Five hundred patients were enrolled, and 88% suffered financial toxicity during the year following injury (64% reduced income, 58% unemployment, 85% experienced stress due to financial burden). Financial toxicity remained stable over follow-up (80-85%). Factors independently associated with financial toxicity were lower age (odds ratio [OR], 0.96 [0.94-0.98]), lack of health insurance (OR, 0.28 [0.14-0.56]), and larger household size (OR, 1.37 [1.06-1.77]). After risk adjustment, patients with financial toxicity had worse HRQoL, and more depression and posttraumatic stress syndrome in a stepwise fashion based on severity of financial toxicity. Financial toxicity following injury is extremely common and is associated with worse psychological and physical outcomes. Age, lack of insurance, and large household size are associated with financial toxicity. Patients at risk for financial toxicity can be identified, and interventions to counteract the negative effects should be developed to improve long-term outcomes. Prognostic/epidemiologic study, level III.