Objective: To estimate the cost-utility and cost-effectiveness of a 3-week intensive exercise training (IET) program directly following hospital discharge in patients with rheumatic diseases. - Methods: Patients with arthritis who were admitted to the hospital because of a disease activity flare or for elective hip or knee arthroplasty were randomly assigned to either the IET group or usual care (UC) group. Followup lasted 1 year. Quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were derived from Short Form 6D scores and a visual analog scale (VAS) rating personal health. Function-related outcome was measured using the Health Assessment Questionnaire, the McMaster Toronto Arthritis (MACTAR) Patient Preference Disability Questionnaire, and the Escola Paulista de Medicina Range of Motion scale (EPMROM). Costs were reported from a societal perspective. Differences in costs and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were estimated. - Results: Data from 85 patients (50 IET and 35 UC) could be used for health-economic analysis. VAS personal health-based QALYs were in favor of IET. Function-related outcome showed statistically significant improvements in favor of IET over the first 6 months, according to the MACTAR (P < 0.05) and the EPMROM (P < 0.01). At 1-year followup, IET was 718 less per patient. The ICER showed a reduction in mean total costs per QALY. In 70% of cases the intervention was cost-saving. - Conclusion: IET results in better quality of life at lower costs after 1 year. Thus, IET is the dominant strategy compared with UC. This highlights the need for implementation of IET after hospital discharge in patients with arthritis.