Through a combination of better primary care, better access to treatment, and lifestyle changes, some 4.4 million hospitalizations could be prevented each year, and for the year 2004, this would have resulted in a savings of $29 billion on 12 conditions for adults and four for children, according to a report released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
The report, Trends in Potentially Preventable Hospitalizations among Adults and Children, 1997-2004, said that those savings would have represented about 10% of all hospital costs for 2004.
According to the report, with better care, access and healthier lifestyles, Americans would have saved $8.3 billion in preventable hospitalizations for congestive heart failure; $7 billion for bacterial pneumonia; $3.4 billion on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; and $2.6 billion on long-term diabetes complications such as kidney failure and amputations.
The authors estimated that $509 million could be saved with better treatment of high blood pressure. They also noted that admission rates for hypertension rose 20% during the period studied, while the total cost of hypertension hospitalizations grew by almost 90% Using statistics from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, the authors said overall preventable hospitalization costs increased to $28.9 billion from $22 billion during the study period, while admissions for the conditions studied increased to 4.4 million from 4.2 hospitals stays. -- by Andis Robeznieks
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