Hospital costs for treating heart-attack patients are rising while hospital stays are decreasing, according to new data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, Md. The average charge for treating a patient admitted for a heart attack rose 39% to $28,663 in 2000 from $20,578 in 1993 on all patients in the U.S. including those with Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance or no health insurance. The average number of days a heart attack patient spent in the hospital fell by 26% to 5.5 days in 2000 from 7.4 days in 1993. Economic pressures have contributed to shortening the average patient stay while new technologies and rising medication costs explain much of the increase in average hospital charges, the AHRQ said. Other conditions for which charges have increased and patient stays have decreased include heart rhythm disturbances, blood poisoning, stroke, diabetes and pneumonia. --Julie Piotrowski
Study: Heart attack costs up, lengths of stay down
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.