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CDC: Tai Chi Highly Cost Effective for Preventing Falls

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March 20, 2015 -
One out of three persons aged 65 and older falls annually and 20% to 30% of falls result in injury. In February, 2015, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a cost-benefit analysis that identified community-based fall interventions that were feasible, effective, and provided a positive return on investment (ROI).

A third-party payer perspective was used to determine the costs and benefits of three effective fall interventions. Intervention effectiveness was based on randomized controlled trial results. National data were used to estimate the average annual benefits from averting the direct medical costs of a fall. The net benefit and ROI were estimated for each of the interventions.

For the Otago Exercise Program delivered to persons aged 65 and older, the net benefit was $121.85 per participant and the ROI was 36% for each dollar invested. For Otago delivered to persons aged 80 and older, the net benefit was $429.18 and the ROI was 127%.

Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance had a net benefit of $529.86 and an ROI of 509%.

Stepping On had a net benefit of $134.37 and an ROI of 64%.

All three fall interventions provided positive net benefits. The ROIs showed that the benefits not only covered the implementation costs but also exceeded the expected direct program delivery costs. These results can help health care funders and other community organizations select appropriate and effective fall interventions that also can provide positive returns on investment.

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