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

to a lower level of trauma care will yield lower overall costs and increased efficiency in the system.

"Each year in the United States, more than two million people are hospitalized for treatment of a traumatic injury. Because injuries often happen in children and young adults, the years of potential life lost are significant," said Richard Hunt, MD, director of the Division of Injury Response in the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We know that getting the most critically injured patients the right care, at the right place, at the right time can help save lives."

To determine cost-effectiveness, the researchers used three metrics: cost per life saved, cost per life-year gained, and cost per quality-adjusted life-year gained (QALY). A total of 5,043 patients contributed to the cost-effectiveness analysis from 69 participating hospitals (18 trauma centers and 51 nontrauma centers) across fourteen states. In addition to care received in the hospital, costs associated with hospital transport, treatment at transferring hospital, rehospitalizations for acute care, inpatient rehabilitation, stays in long-term facilities, outpatient care, and informal care from friends or family members were accounted for when estimating cost. Lifetime costs were modeled using age-specific estimates of per capita personal health expenditures for the general U.S. population and limited data on the impact of specific types of injures on lifetime health care expenditures.

While the value of a year of life is the subject of considerable debate, MacKenzie noted that the cost per life-year saved at a trauma center ($36,319 or $790,931 per life) are "well within an acceptable range of other cost-effective, life-saving interventions reported in the literature." For example, a threshold of $50,000$100,000 per year is often justified based on the cost-effectiveness of renal dialysis.


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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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