Amy M. G. Kandilov, Nicole M. Coomer, and Kathleen Dalton
Research Objective: Hospital-acquired conditions, or HACs, often result in additional Medicare payments, generated during the initial hospitalization and in subsequent health care encounters. The purpose of this article is to estimate the incremental cost to Medicare, as measured by Medicare program payments, of six HACs. Study Design: The researchers used a matched case-control design to determine the incremental increase in Medicare payments attributable to each HAC. For each HAC patient, five comparison patients were matched on diagnosis group, sex, race, and age. Using the matched sample, we estimated a hospital fixed effects log-linear regression on total Medicare payments for the episode of care, further controlling for co-morbid conditions. Care episodes included the initial hospitalization and all inpatient, outpatient, physician, home health, and hospice care that occurred within 90 days of hospital discharge. Population Studied: All Medicare fee-for-service patients discharged alive from a hospital
between October 2008 and June 2010 with one of six HACs—severe pressure ulcer, fracture, catheter-associated urinary tract infection, vascular catheter-associated infection, surgical site infection following certain orthopedic procedures, or deep vein thrombosis/ pulmonary embolism following certain orthopedic procedures—were included in the sample and matched to five similar patients without the HACs. Principal Findings: The multivariate analysis suggests that Medicare paid an additional $146 million per year across these HAC care episodes compared with what would have been paid without the HACs. Conclusions: HACs create a significant financial burden for the Medicare program. We compare the incremental Medicare payments for these six HACs to the current and upcoming Medicare HAC payment penalties.
Keywords: access, demand, utilization of services, hospital-acquired condition, Medicare payments, health care costs, hospitals, Medicare, quality of care, patient safety (measurement)