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New AHRQ Hospital Data Highlights Need for Geriatric Pharmacists
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released Statistical Brief #180 from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. This brief is an overview of 2012 hospital stays in the United States. With 14 pages of data in the PDF version, it provides a fairly detailed overview of hospital utilization.
In 2012, there were 36.5 million hospital stays in the United States, with an average length of stay of 4.5 days and average cost of $10,400 per stay. From 2003 to 2012, the share of hospital stays billed to private insurance decreased from 36.6 to 30.6 percent. In 2012, 39.1% of hospital stays were paid for by Medicare.
The total number of hospital stays, excluding pediatric and maternal stays, was 26,650,000. With Medicare paying for 14.3 million hospital stays, applying some math here reveals that Medicare is paying for 53.7% of adult non-maternal hospital stays. In addition, the AHRQ brief states that patients covered by Medicare experienced the longest average length of stay (5.2 days on average).*
Clearly, Medicare is the dominant payer for adult hospital inpatient care and older adults are the main recipient of that care. With the recent demographic trends, it has never been more important for hospitals to have pharmacists on staff with a clear understanding of geriatrics and who have expertise in geriatric pharmacotherapy. Check our hospital pharmacist web page for more information.
*As a reminder here, in addition to paying for care for adults aged 65 and over, Medicare does pay for care for a smaller number of younger individuals, such as persons with severe renal insufficiency receiving dialysis.
Promoting Excellence in Geriatric Health Care through Education and Certification