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Hospital costs higher for patients discharged to postacute care


 

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The average cost of U.S. hospital stays for injury or illness in patients discharged to postacute care is more than double that of visits with routine discharges, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

For patients who were discharged from hospitals to PAC, the average cost of an inpatient visit in 2013 was $16,900, compared with $8,300 for patients with routine discharges. The inpatient visits with PAC were almost twice as long as those with routine discharge – 7.0 days vs. 3.6 days – and patients with PAC-discharge visits were much older – 69.5% were aged 65 years or older, compared with 22.4% of visits with routine discharges, the AHRQ reported.

The AHRQ used data from the 2013 National Inpatient Sample (NIS) to estimates discharges to PAC for all types of payers and describe these discharges from the perspective of payers, patients, hospitals, conditions/procedures, and geographic regions.

The cost of stays varied considerably among the various PAC settings in 2013. Inpatient stays with discharge to home health agencies had the lowest average cost at $15,100, with skilled nursing facilities next at $16,600, followed by inpatient rehabilitation facilities at $24,200 and long-term-care hospitals at $36,800. Length of stays by PAC setting showed the same trend: those with discharge to home health agencies were shortest (6.2 days) and those with discharge to long-term-care hospitals were longest (13.5 days), the AHRQ said in the report.

Inpatient stays with discharge to PAC made up 22.3% of all hospital discharges in 2013, with the bulk being discharges to home health agencies (50.1%) and skilled nursing facilities (40.5%). Discharges to inpatient rehabilitation facilities made up 7.2% of all PAC visits, while those to long-term-care hospitals were just 2.2%, the data from the NIS show.

rfranki@frontlinemedcom.com

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