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Hospital Workers Frequently Patients As Well

09/13/11

  05:33:58 pm, by MedBen5   , 249 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Hospital Workers Frequently Patients As Well

The Wall Street Journal Health Blog reports that hospital workers get so caught up tending to the health of other people, they apparently tend to neglect their own. At least, that’s one way of looking at a new analysis by Thomson Reuters, which finds that hospital employees and their dependents are more likely to be diagnosed and hospitalized for chronic medical conditions, including asthma, diabetes and congestive heart failure.

Not surprisingly, hospital workers have a high likelihood of being, uh, hospitalized – 18% more than the average worker and dependents. Overall, the study finds that spending on medical care and prescription drugs for health-care workers was 10% more than for the general worker population.

MedBen’s personal experience does bear out that hospitals tend to trend higher in overall utlization and claim costs than other types of business. But poorer health isn’t the only reason why. Because hospital employees are more knowledgeable about available treatment, there is a higher occurrence of self-directed care that favors more expensive procedures.

Demographics also play a role. The higher number of female staffers typical of hospitals contibutes to higher costs. Likewise, lower hospital turnover rates creates an older employee population requiring more expensive care.

Lastly, plan design figures into the higher costs, as hospital employee plans frequently offer more generous benefits than those found in other industries.

Fortunately for hospitals, there are plenty of savings opportunities available. The report calculates a 16,000-person hospital or system could save $1.5 million per year for every 1% drop in health risk.

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