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The Impact of Prenatal Exposure to Cocaine on Newborn Costs and Length of Stay

Author

Listed:
  • Theodore Joyce
  • Andrew D. Racine
  • Sandra McCalla
  • Hassan Wehbeh

Abstract

This paper determines newborn costs and lengths of stay attributable to prenatal exposure to cocaine and other illicit drugs, using as a data source all parturients who delivered at a large municipal hospital in New York City between November 18, 1991 and April 11, 1992. We performed a cross-sectional analysis in which multivariate, loglinear regressions were used to analyze differences in costs and length of stay between infants exposed and unexposed prenatally to cocaine and other illicit drugs adjusting for maternal race, age, prenatal care, tobacco, parity, type of delivery, birth weight, prematurity, and newborn infection. Urine specimens, with linked obstetric sheets and discharge abstracts provided information on exposure, prenatal behaviors, costs, length of stay and discharge disposition. Our principal findings show that infants exposed to cocaine and some other illicit drug stay approximately 7 days longer at a cost of $7,731 more than infants unexposed. Approximately 60 percent of these costs are indirect, the result of adverse birth outcomes and newborn infection. Hospital screening as recorded on discharge abstracts substantially underestimates prevalence at delivery, but overestimates its impact on costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Theodore Joyce & Andrew D. Racine & Sandra McCalla & Hassan Wehbeh, 1994. "The Impact of Prenatal Exposure to Cocaine on Newborn Costs and Length of Stay," NBER Working Papers 4673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4673
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4673.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Breusch, T S & Pagan, A R, 1979. "A Simple Test for Heteroscedasticity and Random Coefficient Variation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1287-1294, September.
    2. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1993:83:2:190-193_6 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Kaestner, Robert & Joyce, Theodore & Wehbeh, Hassan, 1996. "The Effect of Maternal Drug Use on Birth Weight: Measurement Error in Binary Variables," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(4), pages 617-629, October.
    2. Joyce, Theodore, 1999. "Impact of augmented prenatal care on birth outcomes of Medicaid recipients in New York City," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 31-67, January.
    3. O'Neill June E & O'Neill Dave M, 2008. "Health Status, Health Care and Inequality: Canada vs. the U.S," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-45, April.
    4. Carlos Dobkin & Nancy Nicosia, 2009. "The War on Drugs: Methamphetamine, Public Health, and Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 324-349, March.

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