November 11, 2013

JUST ANOTHER CONSUMER GOOD:

Cost, fear of taking time off have many patients pushing surgery to back burner (Rick Wills, Nov. 10, 2013, Trib Live)

The number of surgeries performed each year has declined nationally since the 2008 economic downturn.

A study by the Health Care Cost Institute in Washington found that the number of inpatient surgeries in American hospitals dropped more than 5 percent each year from 2009 to 2012.

"We are seeing a reduction in the number of hospitalizations. At the same time, there has been no real increase in outpatient procedures," said Carolina-Nicole S. Herrera, director of research at the institute.

According to a survey of 58 hospitals by the Hospital Council of Western Pennsylvania, inpatient surgeries decreased by 4.13 percent, or by 6,713, from June 30, 2012, to this June. Outpatient procedures declined by 10,643, or 3.45 percent.

"It is pretty much universal that we are seeing declines. A lot of that has to do with high deductibles. They are a problem for the hospitals," said Dennis Lukes, council vice president.

When the number of surgeries drops, it hurts the bottom line of hospitals and health care conglomerates, said Yaa Akosa Antwi, a health care economist at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.

"Surgeries are an important part of hospital revenue, even though the cost varies between procedures and at different hospitals," Antwi said.

Then vary the cost downwards.

Posted by at November 11, 2013 5:11 PM
  

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