(1/1002) Practice patterns, case mix, Medicare payment policy, and dialysis facility costs.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effects of case mix, practice patterns, features of the payment system, and facility characteristics on the cost of dialysis. DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: The nationally representative sample of dialysis units in the 1991 U.S. Renal Data System's Case Mix Adequacy (CMA) Study. The CMA data were merged with data from Medicare Cost Reports, HCFA facility surveys, and HCFA's end-stage renal disease patient registry. STUDY DESIGN: We estimated a statistical cost function to examine the determinants of costs at the dialysis unit level. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The relationship between case mix and costs was generally weak. However, dialysis practices (type of dialysis membrane, membrane reuse policy, and treatment duration) did have a significant effect on costs. Further, facilities whose payment was constrained by HCFA's ceiling on the adjustment for area wage rates incurred higher costs than unconstrained facilities. The costs of hospital-based units were considerably higher than those of freestanding units. Among chain units, only members of one of the largest national chains exhibited significant cost savings relative to independent facilities. CONCLUSIONS: Little evidence showed that adjusting dialysis payment to account for differences in case mix across facilities would be necessary to ensure access to care for high-cost patients or to reimburse facilities equitably for their costs. However, current efforts to increase dose of dialysis may require higher payments. Longer treatments appear to be the most economical method of increasing the dose of dialysis. Switching to more expensive types of dialysis membranes was a more costly means of increasing dose and hence must be justified by benefits beyond those of higher dose. Reusing membranes saved money, but the savings were insufficient to offset the costs associated with using more expensive membranes. Most, but not all, of the higher costs observed in hospital-based units appear to reflect overhead cost allocation rather than a difference in real resources devoted to treatment. The economies experienced by the largest chains may provide an explanation for their recent growth in market share. The heterogeneity of results by chain size implies that characterizing units using a simple chain status indicator variable is inadequate. Cost differences by facility type and the effects of the ongoing growth of large chains are worthy of continued monitoring to inform both payment policy and antitrust enforcement.  (+info)

(2/1002) The economic impact of Staphylococcus aureus infection in New York City hospitals.

We modeled estimates of the incidence, deaths, and direct medical costs of Staphylococcus aureus infections in hospitalized patients in the New York City metropolitan area in 1995 by using hospital discharge data collected by the New York State Department of Health and standard sources for the costs of health care. We also examined the relative impact of methicillin-resistant versus -sensitive strains of S. aureus and of community-acquired versus nosocomial infections. S. aureus-associated hospitalizations resulted in approximately twice the length of stay, deaths, and medical costs of typical hospitalizations; methicillin-resistant and -sensitive infections had similar direct medical costs, but resistant infections caused more deaths (21% versus 8%). Community-acquired and nosocomial infections had similar death rates, but community-acquired infections appeared to have increased direct medical costs per patient ($35,300 versus $28,800). The results of our study indicate that reducing the incidence of methicillin-resistant and -sensitive nosocomial infections would reduce the societal costs of S. aureus infection.  (+info)

(3/1002) Total joint replacement: implication of cancelled operations for hospital costs and waiting list management.

OBJECTIVE: To identify aspects of provision of total joint replacements which could be improved. DESIGN: 10 month prospective study of hospital admissions and hospital costs for patients whose total joint replacement was cancelled. SETTING: Information and Waiting List Unit, Musgrave Park Regional Orthopaedic Service, Belfast. PATIENTS: 284 consecutive patients called for admission for total joint replacement. MAIN MEASURES: Costs of cancellation of operation after admission in terms of hotel and opportunity costs. RESULTS: 28(10%) planned operations were cancelled, 27 of which were avoidable cancellations. Five replacement patients were substituted on the theatre list, leaving 22(8%) of 232 operating theatre opportunities unused. Patients seen at assessment clinics within two months before admission had a significantly higher operation rate than those admitted from a routine waiting list (224/232(97%) v 32/52(62%), x2 = 58.6, df = 1; p < 0.005). Mean duration of hospital stay in 28 patients with cancelled operations was 1.92 days. Operating theatre opportunity costs were 73% of the total costs of cancelled total joint replacements. CONCLUSION: Patients on long waiting lists for surgery should be reassessed before admission to avoid wasting theatre opportunities, whose cost is the largest component of the total costs of cancelled operations.  (+info)

(4/1002) Resource allocation for public hospitals in Andhra Pradesh, India.

The composition of the hospital sector has important implications for cost effectiveness accessibility and coverage. The classification of acute general hospitals is reviewed here with particular reference to India and Andhra Pradesh. Approaches to arrive at a norm for allocation of hospital expenditure among secondary and tertiary hospitals are discussed. The actual allocation of public sector hospital expenditures is analyzed with data from Andhra Pradesh. The shift in allocative emphasis away from hospitals and in favour of primary health care during the 1980s was found to have been equally shared by secondary and tertiary hospitals. The shares of recurrent (non-plan) expenditure to secondary and tertiary hospitals were 51% and 49% respectively. This can be compared to a derived norm of 66% and 33%. The opportunity that new investment funds (plan schemes) could have provided to rectify the expenditure bias against secondary level hospitals was missed as two-thirds of plan expenditure were also spent on tertiary level hospitals. The share of secondary hospital bed capacity was 45.5% against India's Planning Commission norm of 70%. Public spending strategies should explicitly consider what mix of hospital services is being financed as well as the balance between hospital and primary health care expenditures.  (+info)

(5/1002) The influence of day of life in predicting the inpatient costs for providing care to very low birth weight infants.

The purpose of this study was to test, refine, and extend a statistical model that adjusts neonatal intensive care costs for a very low birth weight infant's day of life and birth weight category. Subjects were 62 infants with birth weights below 1,501 g who were born and cared for in a university hospital until discharged home alive. Subjects were stratified into 250-g birth weight categories. Clinical and actual daily room and ancillary-resource costs for each day of care of each infant were tabulated. Data were analyzed by using a nonlinear regression procedure specifying two separate for modeling. The modeling was performed with data sets that both included and excluded room costs. The former set of data were used for generating a model applicable for comparing interhospital performances and the latter for comparing interphysician performances. The results confirm the existence of a strong statistical relationship between an infant's day of life and both total hospital costs and the isolated costs for ancillary-resource alone (P < 0.0001). A refined series of statistical models have been generated that are applicable to the assessment of either interhospital or interphysician costs associated with providing inpatient care to very low birth weight infants.  (+info)

(6/1002) Short-term continuous infusion thrombolytic therapy for occluded central nervous venous dialysis catheters.

The necessity of maintaining a strict schedule of dialysis treatments in patients with chronic renal failure dictates that occluded access catheters be restored to full function in a timely and cost-effective manner. The records of 22 consecutive patients receiving outpatient treatment for occluded hemodialysis catheters at Osteopathic Medical Center of Texas were reviewed by the authors. Each patient had 100,000 units of urokinase in 50 ml normal saline instilled over 30 minutes through the occluded catheter. In most instances the dose was divided to allow 35 ml to the proximal port and 15 ml to the distal port. The maximum sustained blood flow rate on dialysis was recorded for each patient. The mean maximum sustained blood flow rate improved from 150 ml/min +/- 79 ml to 261 ml/min +/- 62 ml. Following infusion, improvement was obtained in 19 of 22 patients, with 14 catheters delivering blood flow greater than 250 ml/min. The total cost per treatment was $316. No adverse events were experienced. Thrombotic occlusion of extended use hemodialysis catheters can be rapidly and safely relieved in a cost-effective manner with little delay in scheduled dialysis treatments.  (+info)

(7/1002) Effects of a computerised protocol management system on ordering of clinical tests.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the effects of a computerised protocol management system on the number, cost, and appropriateness of laboratory investigations requested. DESIGN: A before and after intervention. SETTING: A supraregional liver unit in a teaching hospital. PATIENTS: 1487 consecutive patients admitted during 1990 and 1991 (one year before and one year after introduction of the system). INTERVENTION: Introduction of a computerised protocol management system on 1 January 1991. MAIN MEASURES: The number and cost of clinical chemistry tests requested per patient day. RESULTS: The total number of clinical chemistry tests requested per patient day by the unit declined 17% (p < 0.001, Student's t test) and of out of hours tests requested per patient day from 0.31 to 0.16, 48% (p < 0.001; Mann-Whitney U test), resulting in a 28% reduction (p < 0.001) in direct laboratory expenditure per patient-day. Overall, the number of tests per admission decreased by 24% (p < 0.001; Mann-Whitney U test). CONCLUSION: Use of the computerised protocol management system resulted in closer compliance with the protocols and a significant reduction in the overall level of requesting. IMPLICATIONS: Although similar systems need to be tested in other clinical settings, computerised protocol management systems may be important in providing appropriate and cost effective health care.  (+info)

(8/1002) Developments in total quality management in the United States: the Intermountain Health Care perspective.

In summary our purpose has been to evaluate quality in the following terms. Best process of care--narrowing the variation of care decisions, working towards the best method. Best clinical outcome--decreased morbidity ond mortality. Best patient satisfaction--both for clinical outcome and the process of care. Best value--best value at the lowest cost. At Intermountain Health Care we believe that the best way to achieve the best quality improvement in a health care system is to involve all of the participants--patients, providers, and systems--in employing the principles of total quality management. Patient involvement--in prevention; participating in best care process through education and utilisation; in evaluating functional status before, during, and after intervention; in satisfaction; in clinical outcome and follow up with providers. Provider involvement--in planning, implementing, analysing, and educating; in defining guidelines; in reassessing and defining guidelines; in reassessing and continually modifying the care map, always striving for "best care." System involvement--in providing structure and mechanisms, support staff, and information systems and being willing to focus on quality as a part of its mission. An American philosopher, George Santayana, once said: "What we call the contagious force of an idea is really the force of the people who have embraced it." It will be up to all of us collectively to become the force behind moving quality management principles into the forefront of patient care methodology and ensuring that quality remains as the guiding principle of health care delivery in the future.  (+info)