ED Cost of Care Greatly Underreported, Researcher Says

Posted by BestPractices on May 15 2013
Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, May 2, 2013

A widely accepted federal report which represents emergency department care costs as only 2% of the nation’s total healthcare bill is seriously flawed, according to a Brown University researcher and ED physician at Rhode Island Hospital. The true cost is in the range of 6.2% to 10%, they say.

Michael Lee, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine, reports in the Annals of Emergency Medicine that commonly cited data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey or MEPS, prepared by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, greatly underreports key components of ED care, including costs for patients who ultimately are admitted to an inpatient bed.

His analysis suggests that patients who are admitted require ED services that cost between 26% and 48% more than patients who are treated in the ED and released.

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