Hospitals performing expensive heart procedures are more costly for all patients

Hospitals that perform expensive, invasive cardiovascular procedures on a disproportionate number of patients are more costly for all heart failure patients, including those treated with noninvasive methods, according to a new Yale study.

Most patients are cared for without the use of like cardiac catheterization, notes the study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes; but the rates of invasive procedures used for heart failure patients vary across hospitals. The study authors represent the NIH Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Center for Research (CCOR) at Yale University as well as the Yale University School of Medicine and Baystate Medical Center.

The authors found that patients who were hospitalized with a diagnosis of heart failure and who did not receive an invasive procedure had a median cost per hospitalization of $5,259 at hospitals that performed few invasive procedures, but their median cost was $6,965 at hospitals that do many invasive procedures. This cost difference was not explained by the length of stay and was not attributable to higher spending in any one area such as laboratory testing, , or medication use. Rather, length of stay was similar between groups, and spending at high-procedure hospitals was higher in most categories.

"This study highlights that the high cost of high-procedure hospitals is not only the result of doing more invasive procedures," said lead author Serene I. Chen. "Instead, it may be that hospitals that have an intensive style of practice — those that do more procedures — also do more of everything else, such as imaging studies, medication administration, and laboratory testing, even for heart failure patients who are medically managed."

The investigators reported that hospitals that performed fewer invasive procedures tended to be smaller, non-teaching institutions, whereas those that performed a higher volume of invasive procedures tended to be urban teaching hospitals that cared for a higher volume of .

Chen, a second-year student at the Yale University School of Medicine, has been nominated for an American Heart Association's Quality of Care and Outcomes Research (QCOR) Young Investigator Abstract Award, and the publication of the paper "Procedure Intensity and the Cost of Care" is timed to coincide with her presentation at the QCOR meeting.

More information: DOI: 10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.112.966069

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Most seniors eligible for statin Rx under new guidelines

Nov 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—Most older Americans qualify for treatment with statins under new guidelines for the treatment of blood cholesterol released late last year by the American College of Cardiology and the American ...

Asymptomatic atherosclerosis linked to cognitive impairment

Nov 25, 2014

In a study of nearly 2,000 adults, researchers found that a buildup of plaque in the body's major arteries was associated with mild cognitive impairment. Results of the study conducted at the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.