Long-Term Healthcare Expenditures Following Combat-Related Traumatic Brain Injury

Michael K. Dalton, Molly P. Jarman, Adoma Manful, Tracey P. Koehlmoos, Zara Cooper, Joel S. Weissman, Andrew J. Schoenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most common injuries resulting from U.S. Military engagements since 2001. Long-term consequences in terms of healthcare utilization are unknown. We sought to evaluate healthcare expenditures among U.S. military service members with TBI, as compared to a matched cohort of uninjured individuals. Methods: We identified service members who were treated for an isolated combat-related TBI between 2007 and 2011. Controls consisted of hospitalized active duty service members, without any history of combat-related injury, matched by age, biologic sex, year of hospitalization, and duration of follow-up. Median total healthcare expenditures over the entire surveillance period represented our primary outcome. Expenditures in the first year (365 days) following injury (hospitalization for controls) and for subsequent years (366th day to last healthcare encounter) were considered secondarily. Negative binomial regression was used to identify the adjusted influence of TBI. Results: The TBI cohort consisted of 634 individuals, and there were 1,268 controls. Healthcare expenditures among those with moderate/severe TBI (median $154,335; interquartile range [IQR] $88,088-$360,977) were significantly higher as compared to individuals with mild TBI (median $113,951; IQR $66,663-$210,014) and controls (median $43,077; IQR $24,403-$83,590; P <. 001). Most expenditures were incurred during the first year following injury. Conclusion: This investigation represents the first continuous observation of healthcare utilization among individuals with combat-related TBI. Our findings speak to continued consumption of health care well beyond the immediate postinjury period, resulting in total expenditures approximately six to seven times higher than those of service members hospitalized for noncombat-related reasons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-517
Number of pages5
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


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