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New Horiz. 1994 Aug;2(3):283-90.

Cost containment and mechanical ventilation in the United States.

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Division of Surgical Critical Care, State University of New York at Buffalo.


In many ICUs, admission and discharge hinge on the need for intubation and ventilatory support. As few as 5% to 10% of ICU patients require prolonged mechanical ventilation, and this patient group consumes > or = 50% of ICU patient days and ICU resources. Prolonged ventilatory support and chronic ventilator dependency, both in the ICU and non-ICU settings, have a significant and growing impact on healthcare economics. In the United States, the need for prolonged mechanical ventilation is increasingly recognized as separate and distinct from the initial diagnosis and/or procedure that leads to hospitalization. This distinction has led to improved reimbursement under the prospective diagnosis-related group (DRG) system, and demands more precise accounting from healthcare providers responsible for these patients. Using both published and theoretical examples, mechanical ventilation in the United States is discussed, with a focus on cost containment. Included in the discussion are ventilator teams, standards of care, management protocols, stepdown units, rehabilitation units, and home care. The expanding role of total quality management (TQM) is also presented.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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