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Examining the Relationship of Inpatient Cost and Aging for Acute Ischemic Stroke Patients

Michael Matthews, PhD, 1550 College Street, Mercer University School of Medicine, Patterson Building, Macon, GA 31207, (478) 301-5547, matthews_MC@mercer.edu

Objective: To determine if aging directly affects the costs of inpatient services for acute ischemic stroke patients.

Data Sources: The sample data were taken from the Hospital Inpatient Data File maintained by the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration. The patient base included Medicare FFS patients admitted for an ischemic stroke during 1995.

Method: Bivariate analysis of inpatient cost and age were compared. Regression analysis was used to examine the effect age has on the cost of inpatient services, controlling for the confounding effects of the patientís severity of illness using the APR-DRG patient grouper, and of regional cost variation using Dartmouth Atlasí Health Referral Regions.

Results: After controlling for confounding variables, age was negatively correlated with inpatient health services costs.

Conclusion: Age is related to a reduction in inpatient costs of health services for acute ischemic stroke patients. This relationship may be attributed to a reduction in laboratory tests, radiological diagnostics, inpatient physical therapy, imaging services, and a decrease in anti-thrombolytic (clot buster) drugs.

Implications: Age, as a primary factor in health care costs is debated among scholars. Some scholars believe that proximity to death is more directly related to cost than age. In addition, many scholars argue that long term care costs, not acute care costs, will be more directly impacted by aging baby boomers. This study suggests that age may be related to a decrease in inpatient health care related costs in some acute care episodes, including the third leading cause of death, stroke.

Learning Objectives:

  • At the conclusion of this session