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Ann Emerg Med. 1986 Nov;15(11):1268-74.

Mode of admission and cost for surgical DRGs.


The purpose of this study was to confirm the hypothesis that emergency department admissions were more expensive than their nonemergency counterparts per diagnosis-related group (DRG) and to see if this characteristic was displayed across many hospitals. All surgical admissions (N = 39,682) to the 11 acute-care hospitals of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation were analyzed during an 18-month period to yield a study population (N = 26,569) of matched DRG subgroups (ED vs nonED) at each hospital of at least five patients per variable for that particular DRG. A cost-per-patient analysis was conducted for each admission. Total costs for the study population were $163,360,636. A total of 75.8% of surgical admissions (N = 20,143) were admitted in DRGs in which ED admissions were more costly than their nonED-matched counterparts. The following was the trend in percentage of total specialty admissions in DRGs in which ED admissions were more costly than nonED admissions: urology (88.4%); ear, nose, and throat (86.2%); general and vascular (80.1%); cardiothoracic (78.0%); orthopedics (75.6%); plastic surgery (62.1%); neurosurgery (60.5%); and ophthalmology (46.0%). Route of admission (ED vs nonED) was an identifier of higher-cost patients per DRG across hospitals in a large public hospital system. These data demonstrate that hospitals with substantial numbers of surgical ED admissions may face significant financial risk under DRG reimbursement, and suggests that the DRG system does not adequately compensate hospitals for the higher cost of the emergency surgical admission.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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