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Aust Health Rev. 2009 Feb;33(1):84-92.

The cost and compensability of trauma patients.

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Faculty of Nursing, University of Sydney, Australia.


Injury in Australia was responsible for 400 000 hospitalisations in 2002. This study aimed to examine the direct costs of trauma patients in a Level 1 trauma centre and determine the compensability of those patients. Data on all admitted patients (206) filling trauma criteria were collected prospectively over a 3-month period (November 2006 to January 2007). A 10-question survey was completed on each patient to record mechanism of injury, third party private health insurance or workers compensation, and direct costs were also obtained. 30% of trauma admissions had an injury severity score (ISS)> 15 (n = 62; median ISS =9; range, 1-56). Median length of stay was 3 days (range, 1-126). Almost half (47%) of the patients were involved in road trauma, and 29% in falls. More than half (53.4%) were eligible for compensation (21.8% of patients had full hospital health insurance cover, 21.4% third party insurance and 9.2% workers compensation). The mechanism of injury with the highest median cost per patient was assault, followed by pedal cyclists, pedestrians then motor vehicle collisions.

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