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Stat Bull Metrop Insur Co. 1995 Apr-Jun;76(2):26-35.

Average hospital charges for medical and surgical treatment of back problems: United States, 1993.


During 1993, more than 6,000 patients covered by MetLife group health contracts were hospitalized for the surgical or medical treatment of back pain. Among the 3,480 patients aged 21 to 64 with surgically treated back problems, the total charge averaged $13,990, with just over half of this total attributed to the hospital charges. The average length of hospital stay was 3.1 days for these patients. Of the 2,529 nonsurgically treated patients with back problems aged 21 to 64, the average charge totaled $7,120--approximately half the charges of the surgically treated patients. A full 90 percent of this total was accounted for by the hospital portion of the bill, which included an average length of stay of 4.1 days. Of the states with at least 50 admissions, the total charges ranged from a high of $20,040 in California to a low of $10,070 in Washington State for patients with surgical back claims. Among the states with at least 50 admissions, the California total charge was also the highest for the medically treated back problem patients ($11,460), but the lowest total charge was registered in Indiana ($5,490). Total average hospital charges (room and board and ancillary fees) were $7,610 for the surgical back patients and $6,430 for the medically treated back patients. Ancillary fees were 84 and 73 percent of the hospital charges to insurance for surgical back and medical back claims, respectively. Physician fees averaged $6,380 for the surgical category and $690 for the medically treated group of patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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