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As Hospital Costs Increase, Push Toward Outpatient Care Also Grows


  09:35:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 268 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management, Hospitals

As Hospital Costs Increase, Push Toward Outpatient Care Also Grows

hospital patient

An interesting essay on the state of modern hospitalization and the shift toward outpatient care, by internist Saquib Rahim:

With increasing frequency, the goal of inpatient care has become to address and stabilize a patient's active medical issues so that any remaining care can be conducted in the outpatient setting. This evolution does not mean we should discharge hospital patients before they are clinically ready or when appropriate outpatient services are not available. Providers and hospitals should always ensure patients receive high quality, responsive care for acute medical issues. But in the course of treating patients, especially those with complicated and/or multiple medical issues, there often does come a point when additional care can be safely administered outside of the hospital -- even if the patient is not quite back to his/her baseline health.

In 2012, almost one-third (32 percent) of all health care spending was in hospital-based care, which represented the largest single category of spending and approximately $900 billion. Hospital and physician services together accounted for more than 50 percent of total health care spending. Thus, when looking at areas to increase efficiency and lower expenditures, those two categories stand out. Furthermore, the disparity between the costs of inpatient and outpatient care is striking. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average 2011 hospital expense per inpatient day was almost $2,000 nationally. But according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the average national cost per outpatient visit was roughly $200. That means for every extra day in the hospital, a patient could see a physician in the clinic 10 times for the same aggregate cost.

Read more at the HuffPost Healthy Living blog.

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