Association of in-hospital resource utilization with post-acute spending in Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction: a cross-sectional study
Nuti, Sudhakar V; Li, Shu-Xia; Xu, Xiao; Ott, Lesli S; Lagu, Tara; Desai, Nihar R; Murugiah, Karthik; Duan, Michael; Martin, John; Kim, Nancy; Krumholz, Harlan M
BACKGROUND:Efforts to decrease hospitalization costs could increase post-acute care costs. This effect could undermine initiatives to reduce overall episode costs and have implications for the design of health care under alternative payment models. METHODS:Among Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries aged ≥65 years hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) between July 2010 and June 2013 in the Premier Healthcare Database, we studied the association of in-hospital and post-acute care resource utilization and outcomes by in-hospital cost tertiles. RESULTS:Among patients with AMI at 326 hospitals, the median (range) of each hospital's mean per-patient in-hospital risk-standardized cost (RSC) for the low, medium, and high cost tertiles were $16,257 ($13,097-$17,648), $18,544 ($17,663-$19,875), and $21,831 ($19,923-$31,296), respectively. There was no difference in the median (IQR) of risk-standardized post-acute payments across cost-tertiles: $5014 (4295-6051), $4980 (4349-5931) and $4922 (4056-5457) for the low (n = 90), medium (n = 98), and high (n = 86) in-hospital RSC tertiles (p = 0.21), respectively. In-hospital and 30-day mortality rates did not differ significantly across the in-hospital RSC tertiles; however, 30-day readmission rates were higher at hospitals with higher in-hospital RSCs: median = 17.5, 17.8, and 18.0% at low, medium, and high in-hospital RSC tertiles, respectively (p = 0.005 for test of trend across tertiles). CONCLUSIONS:In our study of patients hospitalized with AMI, greater resource utilization during the hospitalization was not associated with meaningful differences in costs or mortality during the post-acute period. These findings suggest that it may be possible for higher cost hospitals to improve efficiency in care without increasing post-acute care utilization or worsening outcomes.