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“Migraine Calculator” Unveiled:
Shows Benefits of Treating Employee Migraines

March 14, 2005

Last week, there was a press conference in Washington, D.C. that I couldn't attend in person, but those organizing the conference were kind enough to invite some people to attend via telephone conference call. The concept of their announcement caught my attention immediately -- a "Migraine Calculator" that would show an employer how much money a company can save when Migraineur employees receive proper Migraine treatment. The call was absolutely time well spent.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) unveiled a new “Migraine Calculator” at the Institute for Health and Productivity Management conference in Orlando, Florida on March 10. The calculator is a web-based tool designed to help employers estimate the incidence of Migraine, its impact on their work force, and the potential net savings of helping employees get treatment.

Billy Tauzin, PhRMA President and CEO, stated in a press release¹:

“Migraines rob millions of Americans of the ability to live normal lives and to do their work. Treatments needed to end the suffering and give people their lives back are readily available. The Migraine calculator lets employers see how they can boost productivity by helping employees suffering from Migraines get the treatment they need. Migraines rob millions of Americans of the ability to live normal lives and to do their work"

The Migraine Calculator, or Productivity Impact Model (PMI), was developed by The HSM Group, Ltd., a health care consulting firm based in Scottsdale, Arizona, with support from PhRMA. The calculator estimates the incidence of Migraine and its impact on a company’s work force. The estimates are based on the company’s size, type of industry, location and the age and gender of employees. It computes the expected number of days each year employees will be absent or suffer low productivity due to Migraine and calculates the associated cost to the business. It also projects the potential net savings the company can expect, after considering the cost of treatment, if employees obtain treatment.

Approximately 32 million Americans suffer from Migraine disease, affecting women more than men at a 3:1 ratio. The disabling symptoms Migraine disease cost employers around $13 billion annually in missed days and lower workplace productivity.

Sheryl Bronkesh, president of The HSM Group, Ltd., commented in the press release¹:

“This new, easy to use Internet-based Migraine calculator integrates extensive research findings from peer-reviewed literature and turns them into useable results for employers. It’s an important tool that allows employers to see the whole picture on the economics and value of getting patients with Migraines needed treatment. Basically, the calculator allows employers to see a snapshot of the potential financial benefits for their company if they assist their employees who are battling Migraines.”

So much for theory. Let's see what it does   .
Here are two sets of data, using sample employers, showing how Migraine disease impacts employers:

  • Example 1.
    • School district in the Northeast with 1,000 employees
    • 174 employees can be expected to suffer from Migraines
    • With treatment, lost workday equivalents can be reduced by 509 days.*
    • This means that the employer will pay $129,717 less in replacement costs**
    • Treatment costs would be $53,287***
    • The net savings to the school district would be expected to be $76,430 per year
  • Example 2.
    • An employer in the North Central region of the country has 10,000 employees and is the Finance & Insurance industry
    • 1,666 employees can be expected to suffer from Migraines
    • With treatment, lost workday equivalents can be reduced by 4,871 days.*
    • This means that the employer will pay $1,225,895 less in replacement costs**
    • Treatment costs would be $507,683***
    • The net savings to the company would be expected to be $718,211 per year

You can check out the "Migraine Calculator" for yourself at www.migrainecalculator.com.

Summary:
Kudos to PhRMA and HSM. The "Migraine Calculator" has the potential to not only show employers the impact of their Migraineur employees getting treatment, but to possibly open other doors as well. The "Migraine Calculator" web site also includes basic information about Migraine, it's treatment, and some helpful links. I do hope they update their site soon and stop referring to Migraine attacks as Migraine "headaches," but I guess we can't have everything at once. Hopefully, the tool and the web site will also lead to more awareness of Migraine disease and the challenges facing Migraineurs, better educated employers, and more understanding for Migraineurs in the work place.

_______________
Notes:

* Lost workday equivalents includes the number of days a person was absent from work and a calculation of the amount of work missed because of reduced effectiveness on the job known as presenteeism.

**The costs of absenteeism are directly related to replacement costs, which are dependent on total compensation. Compensation is comprised of average wages, benefits and fringes for each specific industry as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Users of the model are able to adjust the wages and benefits to better represent their own companies.

*** The model takes account the cost of triptan treatment. The average treatment costs include the cost for the medicine that the employer or health plan will pay, which is partially offset by the employee co-pay for the prescription. The default co-pay value used by this calculator is $25 per prescription based on HSM’s analysis of publicly available data.
 

¹ Press Release: "Migraine Calculator" Shows Benefits of Treating Employee Migraines. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). March 10, 2005.

 

 

 
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