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BACKGROUND/AIMS - Percutaneous kidney biopsy (PKB) is the primary diagnostic tool for kidney disease. Outpatient 'day surgery' (ODS) following PKB in low-risk patients has previously been described as a safe alternative to inpatient observation (IO). This study aims to determine if ODS is less costly compared to IO while accounting for all institutional costs (IC) associated with post-PKB complications, including death.
METHODS - A cost minimization study was performed using decision analysis methodology which models relative costs in relation to outcome probabilities yielding an optimum decision. The potential outcomes included major complications (bleeding requiring blood transfusion or advanced intervention), minor complications (bleeding or pain requiring additional observation), and death. Probabilities were obtained from the published literature and a base case was selected. IC were obtained for all complications from institutional activity-based cost estimates. The base case assumed a complication rate of 10% with major bleeding occurring in 2.5% of patients (for both arms) and death in 0.1 and 0.15% of IO and ODS patients, respectively.
RESULTS - ODS costs USD 1,394 per biopsy compared to USD 1,800 for IO inclusive of all complications. IC for ODS remain less when overall complications <20%, major complications <5.5%, and IC per death
CONCLUSION - Outpatient management after PKB for low-risk patients costs less from the institutional perspective compared to IO, inclusive of complications and death. ODS should be considered for low-risk patients undergoing native kidney biopsy.
Copyright © 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel.
Differences in the costs of health care systems among industrialized countries has been the focus of several studies. Labor costs, specifically the amount of resources used for administration, are considered to contribute to differences in overall health care costs. To determine differences in the use of labor resources, especially administrative and managerial, among American, Austrian and German hospitals, we use a convenience sample of one Austrian, one German and two United States (US) tertiary care centers. In our analysis we used payroll data of the four hospitals. First, we categorized job titles and created job categories. Subsequently, we calculated full time equivalents (FTEs) per job category and compared them across countries. Adjustments were made for differences in health systems. The main outcome measures were FTEs per patient day and per discharge in each job category. In the US hospitals > 19% of FTEs were in administrative categories as compared with < 8% in the European hospitals. For administrative managers, US hospitals used > 11 times the labor per patient day of the European institutions. Among administrative areas, the largest absolute FTE difference was in financial operations. US hospitals used > 5 FTEs of personnel per 10,000 patient days versus < 1.0 FTE in the European hospitals. Given the kinds of administrative work done in US hospitals compared to Austria and Germany, differences in the organization and financing of these countries' health care systems may account for an important part of the higher number of US personnel.
OBJECTIVE - To determine whether information from the physician's initial evaluation of patients with suspected coronary artery disease predicts coronary anatomy at catheterization and 3-year survival.
DESIGN - Prospective validation of regression model estimates in an outpatient cohort.
SETTING - University medical center.
PATIENTS - A total of 1030 consecutive outpatients referred for noninvasive testing for suspected coronary artery disease; 168 of these patients subsequently underwent catheterization within 90 days.
MEASUREMENTS - Information from the initial history, physical examination, electrocardiogram, and chest radiograph was used to predict coronary anatomy (the likelihood of any significant coronary disease, severe disease [left main or three-vessel], and significant left main disease) among 168 catheterized patients and to estimate 3-year survival among all patients. These estimates were compared with those based on treadmill testing. Cardiovascular testing charges were calculated for all patients.
RESULTS - Predicted coronary anatomy and survival closely corresponded to actual findings. Compared with the treadmill exercise test, initial evaluation was slightly better able to distinguish patients with or without any coronary disease and was similar in the ability to identify patients at increased risk for dying or with anatomically severe disease. Based on arbitrary definitions, 37% to 66% of patients were at low risk and responsible for 31% to 56% of the charges for cardiovascular testing.
CONCLUSIONS - The physician's initial evaluation, despite the subjective nature of much of the information gathered, can be used to identify patients likely to benefit from further testing. The development of strategies for cost-conscious quality care must begin with the history, physical examination, and simple laboratory testing.
BACKGROUND - Prior authorization--mandatory advance approval for the use of expensive medications--is now the primary method by which Medicaid programs control expenditures for drugs. However, whether this policy reduces expenditures for specific drugs without causing the unwanted substitution of other drugs or medical services has been largely unstudied. We evaluated the effects of a prior-authorization policy involving nongeneric nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in the Medicaid program in Tennessee.
METHODS - We compared monthly Medicaid expenditures that were potentially affected by the policy change during the year before and the two years after its implementation. We studied prescriptions for NSAIDs, other analgesic or antiinflammatory drugs, and psychotropic drugs, as well as outpatient services and inpatient admissions for the management of pain or inflammation.
RESULTS - At the midpoint of the base-line year, 495,821 people were enrolled in Medicaid. During that year, mean annualized Medicaid expenditures for NSAID prescriptions amounted to $22.41. Expenditures decreased by 53 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 48 to 57 percent) during the next two years, for an estimated savings of $12.8 million. The reduction in expenditures resulted from the increased use of generic NSAIDs, as well as from a 19 percent decrease in overall NSAID use (95 percent confidence interval, 13 to 25 percent). There was no concomitant increase in Medicaid expenditures for other medical care. Regular users of nongeneric NSAIDs, those most affected by the policy change, had similar reductions in NSAID expenditures and use, with no increase in expenditures for other medical care.
CONCLUSIONS - Prior-authorization requirements may be highly cost effective with regard to expenditures for NSAIDs, drugs that have very similar efficacy and safety but substantial variation in cost.