Hospitals can generate substantial revenue by reducing ambulance diversions, a study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine found.
For the study, researchers did a secondary analysis of hospital administrative data. Researchers looked at time and date of ambulance arrivals, as well as the insurance status and revenue, from each emergency department patient that came to the hospital by ambulance. The data were collected from January 2002 through December 2003.
The study found that:
- Nearly $1,100 could be made per hour of diversion avoided;
- ED visits by ambulance patients had average net revenues and charges nearly three times that of other ED patients; and
- Total percent of charges reimbursed for ambulance patients was 43%, compared with 39% for other patients.
The researchers concluded that although revenue would be increased by reducing ambulance diversion, the revenue made from treating ambulance patients is sporadic. Such considerations could lead hospital decision makers to invest in other areas of care with more stable and predictable revenue streams, according to the study (McConnell et al., Annals of Emergency Medicine, December 2006). 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.