Costs for cardio-related hospital stays reach $50B

The aggregate cost for hospital stays in the U.S. surpassed $387 billion in 2011, with five cardiovascular conditions accounting for about 13 percent of the total.

In its December statistical brief, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality provided an update on the cost of inpatient hospital stays in community hospitals in 2011. The analysis compared costs to data from 1997.

Aggregate inflation-adjusted costs grew 3.6 percent annually, from $237.2 billion in 1997 to $387.3 billion in 2011. The mean cost per stay in 2011 was $10,000.

Acute MI, congestive heart failure, coronary atherosclerosis, acute cerebrovascular disease and cardiac dysrhythmias were among the top for cost by specific diagnosis. The mean cost per stay for coronary atherosclerosis jumped from $11,300 to $17,200, for instance, for an increase of 52 percent. Acute MI ($18,900), congestive heart failure ($10,900) and acute cerebrovascular disease ($14,000) all logged in higher than the overall mean of $10,000.

But while costs soared, the rate of hospitalization decreased 3 percent annually for coronary atherosclerosis. Acute MI, heart failure and acute cerebrovascular disease also had a decrease in stays per population, which offset the higher cost per stay.

Cardiac dysrhythmia posted an increased cost in stay, with hospital costs doubling between 1997 and 2011, from $3.8 billion to $7.6 billion. The costs for septicemia, on the other hand, more than quadrupled, from $4.4 billion to $20.3 billion.

Adults between the ages of 45 and 84 accounted for two-thirds of the aggregate costs and more than half of the stays in 2011.

Medicare paid the tab for 47 percent of the costs, while private insurance picked up 32 percent. But Medicare paid a mean cost of $11,900 to private insurance’s $9,200.

The statistical brief was derived from Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) 2011 Nationwide Inpatient Sample data. HCUP includes data from short-term, non-federal, general and other hospitals.