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JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 1987 Jan-Feb;11(1):49-51.

Impact of nutritional status on DRG length of stay.


A prospective audit of 100 admissions to a general medical unit was performed to determine the relationship of the initial nutritional status of the patients to the actual length of stay and hospital charges. These data then were compared with the allowed length of stay and estimated reimbursement under the prospective payment system of diagnosis-related groups (DRGs). Forty-five percent of the malnourished patients were hospitalized longer than that allowed under DRGs, compared to 30% for normal patients and 37% in the borderline group. The average length of stay was 15.6 +/- 2.2 days in the malnourished group compared to approximately 10 days in the other two groups (p less than 0.01). Although the estimated base DRG reimbursement was similar in all three groups ($4352-$5124), the actual hospital charges were significantly greater in the malnourished ($16,691 +/- 4389) and borderline ($14,118 +/- 4962) groups compared to normals ($7692 +/- 687), (p less than 0.01). The DRG system will have an adverse financial impact in the care of malnourished patients. It is suggested that early recognition of malnutrition and aggressive treatment may lead to a decrease in the length of stay and cost deficit incurred by malnourished patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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