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Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes

Year: 2010  |  Volume: 3  |  Issue: 1  |  Page No.: 33 - 40

Costs of Inpatient Care Among Medicare Beneficiaries With Heart Failure, 2001 to 2004

D. J Whellan, M. A Greiner, K. A Schulman and L. H. Curtis

Abstract

Background— Inpatient care is the primary driver of costs for patients with heart failure. It is unclear whether recent advances in heart failure care have reduced the costs to Medicare for the care of inpatients with heart failure.

Methods and Results— In a retrospective cohort study of 1 363 977 elderly Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized with heart failure between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2004, we examined costs to Medicare for all inpatient care, inpatient cardiovascular care, and inpatient heart failure care and the adjusted relationships between patient characteristics and costs. Among 1 363 977 Medicare beneficiaries with an index heart failure hospitalization, 901 885 (66%) had a subsequent inpatient claim during the following year. Noncardiovascular costs accounted for 57% of total inpatient costs, and costs associated with heart failure hospitalizations accounted for 15% of total inpatient costs. No significant changes occurred in total, cardiovascular, and heart failure inpatient costs over time.

Conclusions— The costs of inpatient care for patients with heart failure are high, but most subsequent inpatient costs are attributable to noncardiovascular and non–heart failure admissions. Further research is needed to identify predictors of costs, so that patients can be stratified according to risk, and to evaluate strategies that target primary cost drivers for patients with heart failure.

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