Growth in annual spending on hospital services over the next decade may exceed the current CMS calculation of 55.1%, said Stuart Altman, a professor at Brandeis University and chairman of the Council on Health Care Economics and Policy. Speaking today at a conference in Washington, Altman said Brandeis researchers project 77.5% total growth in annual spending on hospital services through 2012 -- to $691.7 billion -- from $389.6 billion in 2001. By comparison, the CMS estimates hospital spending will hit $604.4 billion in 2012. According to the Brandeis researchers, about three-fourths of the spending growth will be fueled by increased per-capita use of services, partly because of the aging population; however, population growth also will have a substantial impact. Despite the promise that new technology might reduce costs, the consensus is technological advances will increase hospital costs, because new technology often is an add-on rather than a replacement for older technology, Altman said. He spoke at a conference on the future of U.S. hospitals, which was profiled in this week's Modern Healthcare. Read the story. -- by Tony Fong
Hospital spending may grow more than projected
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