Unneeded Hospital Transfers Add to U.S. Health-Cost
Burden, Study Says09/10/10
FRIDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Reducing the unnecessary
transfer of patients between hospitals (secondary over-triage) may
be a way to decrease U.S. health-care system costs, a new study
Secondary over-triage occurs when patients are transferred from
one hospital to another and discharged from the second hospital in
less than 24 hours.
If patients are discharged from the second hospital within 24
hours, it's doubtful that they needed to be transferred there in
the first place, according to study author David Chang, director of
the Center for Surgical Systems and Public Health at the University
of California, San Diego.
He and colleague Hayley Osen, a research analyst at the center,
found that 20 percent of child patients were discharged within 24
hours after transfer to a second hospital.
"The average cost of a patient who faces secondary over-triage is $5,917, a significant burden given that per capita spending alone in the U.S. is around $8,000," Osen said in a UCSD news release.
"The paper highlights the issue of defensive medicine," Chang said in the news release. "We found that pediatric patients are most prone to secondary over-triage, which may be due to physicians or hospitals being overly cautious for fear of legal repercussions."
The study is published in the Sept. 10 issue of the
Journal of Trauma.
The U.S. Agency on Healthcare Research and Quality has tips for
child's health in the hospital.
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