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Clin Ther. 1995 May-Jun;17(3):561-71; discussion 516.

Use of anesthesia selection in controlling surgery costs in an HMO hospital.

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University of Kentucky, Lexington, USA.


The cost of induction and maintenance of anesthesia is analyzed in this article from the perspective of a health maintenance organization's (HMO) chief financial officer. While earlier economic studies tended to focus on the raw cost of anesthesia drugs, our model also includes the cost of the clinical labor involved in administering the drug as well as the fixed costs associated with the facility. Such a model is consistent with the goal of an HMO, which is to provide high-quality health care services to its membership while containing costs. Our model disaggregated the costs associated with anesthesia into cost centers. The costs associated with two anesthesia regimens, propofol and thiopental/isoflurane, were calculated and analyzed via cost-minimization methods. Our data were acquired from a prospective economic trial conducted in university, community, and HMO hospitals. Because institutional pricing policies differ greatly, only the findings at the HMO hospital are presented in this report. Our results suggest that intra-abdominal surgical procedures with a duration of less than 4 hours that use propofol for induction and maintenance of anesthesia reduce the total cost of surgery by $202.71, compared with the costs of using thiopental/isoflurane. Sensitivity analysis maintains the robustness of the conclusions with regard to all major parameters.

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