Since its discovery more than 100 years ago, not much information has been provided about the financial impact of cerebral palsy on families or patients dealing with this tragic injury. This lack of literature, however, does not diminish the fact that the average lifetime cost of treating a child with the condition can have a major impact on a family’s finances. The expenses are great, but with health insurance, financial planning, government help, and community support, ensuring that those affected receive the proper and necessary care becomes a more manageable task.
The Costs Associated With Cerebral Palsy
A long-term chronic medical condition, Cerebral Palsy requires long-term medical care and treatment. Those who have cerebral palsy often have other associated medical issues, such as hearing problems, vision loss, cognitive delays, and seizures. All of those medical issues require diagnosis and treatment, all of which are costly.
The child may require developmental assistance, special education, a caregiver, and assisted living. There are also indirect costs associated with the disease, including lost wages and productivity, occupational limitations, and travel to and from medical visits that add to the overall cost of care.
As the most common developmental disability among children across the country, cerebral palsy affects about 764,000 people across the U.S. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports that the percentage of babies who develop the condition has remained steady during the last three decades despite advances in treatment and prevention.
The Cost to the Nation
Cerebral palsy has a financial impact on the entire country. The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published a study called the “Economic Costs Associated With Mental Retardation, Cerebral Palsy, Hearing Loss, and Vision Impairment – United States, 2003.” This study examined both the indirect and direct medical costs of developmental disabilities, including cerebral palsy. The study, based on the value of the dollar in 2003, focused on individuals born in 2000 with developmental disabilities.
According to the article, the lifetime costs for people with cerebral palsy totaled more than $11.5 billion. Those costs for individuals will cerebral palsy included indirect costs, which comprised 80.6 percent of the costs and included premature mortality, productivity lost because of the inability to work, and limitations to the kind of work and amount of work that the individual could perform.
About 10.2 percent of these costs comprised direct medical expenses, which included doctor visits, prescriptions, hospitalizations, therapy, rehabilitation, assistive devices, and extended care. Non-direct medical costs equaled about 9.2 percent of the losses and included home and auto modifications and special education.
Financial Help Is Available
There is financial assistance available to individuals with cerebral palsy. There are community-based organizations and government programs that offer help. Health insurance coverage should help with medical expenses, and some charity organizations often offer help as well.
Sometimes Cerebral Palsy is a birth injury caused by medical malpractice or medical negligence. If that is the case, you may want to pursue a medical malpractice claim to recover compensation to help fund the medical care and living expenses associated with your child’s condition. If your child has suffered a birth injury in Los Angeles, contact medical malpractice attorney Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq., for a free case evaluation.