AHRQ Publishes Statistics on Hospital Comorbidities, Admissions
More than half of all hospital patients have coexisting diseases, according to an AHRQ report issued Nov. 17 that summarizes information from the 1997 Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS), a survey of seven million records. One in three patients has two or more comorbidities, which can complicate treatment and lengthen hospital stay. One-fifth of patients have hypertension, the most common comorbidity, which can complicate treatment by increasing the risk of a stroke or heart attack. Fourteen percent of patients are diagnosed with fluid and electrolyte disorders, which can increase the risk of heart arrhythmia or unstable blood pressure. Nearly 11% of hospital patients suffer from emphysema or chronic bronchitis, 10% have diabetes mellitus, and 7% have an irregular heartbeat. Drug abuse, psychoses and depression are also among the top 10
comorbidities for adolescents and adults up to age 44 (AHRQ Release, 11/17).
AHRQ compiled the statistics into a Healthcare Cost Utilization Project (HCUP) Fact Book, available online at http://www.ahrq.gov/data/hcup/factbk1. The analysis of the 1997 NIS survey reveals that about 40% of health care expenditures go towards hospital care, making it health care's most expensive component. The average hospital stay is five days long and costs $11,000. The most expensive condition treated in hospitals is infant respiratory distress at an average cost of $68,000. Three other conditions in the top 10 are also related to infant care, including prematurity, heart defects and lack of oxygen. While only 13% of people in the U.S. are 65 and older, Medicare and Medicaid are billed for 54% of all hospital stays (Elixhauser et al, HCUP Fact Book, 11/00).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.