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Unscheduled Cancer Pain Admissions Costly: Close to $5 Million a Year at M.D. Anderson

Unscheduled Cancer Pain Admissions Costly: Close to $5 Million a Year at M.D. Anderson

HOUSTON-Unscheduled hospital admissions for treatment of pain represent a significant cost-$4.7 million annually in a study from The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Monica M. Larsen, BA, of the Department of Pharmacoeconomics, who presented the abstract at the 8th World Congress on Pain, said that more effective outpatient pain interventions are the key to reducing these expensive admissions.

Ms. Larsen and her colleagues reviewed the records of all patients admitted through the emergency care unit over a 6-month period.

Of the 1,166 total admissions, 14% were for pain, ranking second only to fever (35%). The reasons for the pain admissions were pain management (60%), abdominal pain (24%), chest pain (10%), headache (5%), and back pain (1%).

The mean length of stay for pain admissions was 10.5 days, and the mean patient charge per admission was $19,000 ($1,800 per day).

Using the hospital-specific cost-to-charge ratio of 0.74, the researchers determined that the actual hospital cost per admission for pain was $14,000 ($1,300 per day). Thus, they were able to predict an annual cost of about $4.7 million for unscheduled pain admissions.

 
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