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Trauma center care cost-effective
Date:8/17/2010

Trauma center care not only saves lives, it is a cost-effective way of treating major trauma, according to a new report from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Injury Research and Policy. Although treatment at a trauma center is more expensive, the benefits of this approach in terms of lives saved and quality of life-years gained outweigh the costs. The study finds that the added cost of treatment at a trauma center versus nontrauma center is only $36,319 for every life-year gained or $790,931 per life saved. This is despite the fact that initial care in trauma centers is 71 percent higher than in nontrauma centers. While previous studies have found trauma center care decreases one's likelihood of dying following injury, this is the most comprehensive study to date to also measure cost-effectiveness. The results are published in the July issue of the Journal of Trauma Injury, Infection and Critical Care.

"In today's economic and health care climates, it is critical to determine whether the benefits of expensive therapies warrant their higher costs," said Ellen MacKenzie, PhD, the Fred and Julie Soper Professor & Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Taken together with our previous work demonstrating the effectiveness of trauma centers in saving lives, the results unequivocally support the need for continued efforts and funding for regionalized systems of trauma care in the United States."

The report found that while trauma center care is cost-effective for all patients taken together, it is of particular value for people with very severe injuries and for those younger than 55 years. The costs per life-year gained are higher for patients with less severe injuries. These results underscore the importance of designing trauma systems that assure that patients are taken to the level of care appropriate to their needs. Taking the less severely injured
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Contact: Tim Parsons
tmparson@jhsph.edu
410-955-7619
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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