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New Study: Aging Baby Boomers Could Overwhelm U.S. Health Care System by 2017, Unless Decisive Action Is Taken
Date:3/5/2008

Analysis of Trends by Management Consultant Tefen USA Projects Health Care Spending May More Than Double as Hospital Capacity Declines And Baby Boomer

Medical Needs Escalate

NEW YORK, March 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The approaching onslaught of over 70 million aging baby boomers could overwhelm the U.S. health care system and engulf the nation's tenuous economy, according to a new study, "Will the Boom Bust Health Care?," by management consulting firm Tefen USA.

A recent report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) predicts that unless decisive action is taken, total U.S. health care spending will double to just over $4.3 trillion by 2017 - or nearly 20 percent of the nation's gross domestic product. Tefen USA estimates that this figure could be considerably higher, based on its assessment of data that people over the age of 65 experience nearly three times as many hospital days per thousand as the general population, and that sixty-two percent of 50-64 year-olds report having at least one of six chronic health conditions: arthritis, high cholesterol, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.

Declining Hospital Capacity

Compounding the problem, according to Tefen, is a sharp decline in hospital capacity. The number of community hospitals decreased from 5,384 to 4,915 between 1990 and 2000. During the same time period, the number of beds per 1,000 of population decreased from 4.2 to 3.0. This reduction in capacity, Tefen points out, has been accompanied by a sharp increase in hospital staffing. Between 1995 and 2000, full-time equivalent personnel increased from about 3,420,000 to about 3,911,400. At the same time, hospitals have spent almost $100 billion in facility and infrastructure improvements.

"There is an immense, growing disconnect within the U.S. health care sector," said Barry Calogero, president, Tefen USA, and author of the study. "Capacity is shrinking, costs are skyr
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SOURCE Tefen USA
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