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Growth trends in components of hospital inpatient costs, 1997-2009

Where is the growth occurring in national expenditures on hospital inpatient costs? An AHRQ analysis of its Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project databases for 1997-2009 reports these findings:

  • In 2009 the average inpatient stay was 4.6 days and cost $9200 [$2000 per day]. The average 2009 cost for an inpatient age 65 and over stay was $11,400 [$2100 per day] compared to the under age 65 inpatient cost of $8500 [$1300 per day].
  • Aggregate cost of stays for non-elderly patients grew more quickly from 2007 to 2009 than that for elderly patients — 4.4% annually vs. 3.1%. The non-elderly aggregate cost growth was driven by increases in the cost per day [reflecting intensity of services], population, hospitalization rates, and average length of stay. While the cost per day increased for the elderly cohort as well, there was a decline in hospitalization rate and average length of stay for the group.
  • Stays for elderly patients accounted for $153.9 billion of inpatient hospital costs in 2009, while non-elderly inpatients cost $207.6 billion nationwide.
  • The non-elderly hospitalization rate per 1000 population rose from 93.6 in 1997 to 96.8 in 2009. This compares to a hospitalization rate decrease for the elderly  from 362.7 in 1999 to 342.2 per 1000 population in 2009.

Source: Stranges E and others. Components of growth in inpatient hospital costs, 1997-2009. HCUP Statistical Brief [Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality], no. 123, Nov. 2011. http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb123.pdf

Posted by the AHA Resource Center, (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org


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