A image of a blue hospital sign.

AHRQ: Patient Deaths in Hospitals Cost Nearly $20 Billion

One out of every three people who died in 2007 in the United States were in the hospital for treatment at the time of their deaths, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The cost of their hospital stays was about $20 billion.

The federal agency's analysis of 765,651 hospital patient deaths in 2007 found that the average cost of hospital stays in which patients died was $26,035, versus an average of $9,447 for patients who were discharged alive. The costs were higher for patients who died because their hospitals stays were longer than those of patients who lived (8.8 days vs. 4.5 days).

The study also found that:

  • Medicare patients accounted for 67 percent of in-hospital deaths and $12 billion in hospital costs, while privately insured patients accounted for 20 percent of deaths and $4 billion. Medicaid patients accounted for two percent of deaths and $2.4 billion, and uninsured patients accounted for three percent and $630 million.
  • The average cost for each Medicaid patient who died was $38,939--roughly $15,000 more than the average cost of a Medicare or uninsured patient who died, and about $10,000 more than a privately insured patient who died.
  • About 12 percent of patients who died had been admitted for an elective procedure or other non-urgent reason and 72 percent were emergency admissions. Roughly seven percent of patients who died were admitted for accidents or intentional injury and about two percent were newborn infants.
  • Septicemia, a life-threatening blood infection, was the major cause of death, accounting for 15 percent of all deaths, followed by respiratory failure (eight percent); stroke (six percent); pneumonia (five percent); heart attack (five percent); and congestive heart failure (four percent). Other leading causes of death included cancer, aspiration pneumonia, and kidney failure.

This information is based on data in "The Costs of End-of-Life Hospitalizations, 2007" (www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb82.pdf). The report uses statistics from the "2007 Nationwide Inpatient Sample," a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - July August 2022

    July / August 2022

    Featuring:

    • CONFINED SPACES
      Specific PPE is Needed for Entry and Exit
    • HAZARD COMMUNICATION
      Three Quick Steps to Better HazCom Training
    • GAS DETECTION
      Building a Chemical Emergency Toolkit
    • RESPIRATORY PROTECTION
      The Last Line of Defense
    View This Issue