Hospitals in 2006 spent $30.8 billion on 4.4 million hospital admissions that might have been avoidable, according to a report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
The Nationwide Frequency and Costs of Potentially Preventable Hospitalizations 2006 report, based on data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, shows congestive heart failure and bacterial pneumonia were the two most common reasons for inpatient stays, accounting for total hospital costs of $15.6 billion. Medicare patients accounted for $20.1 billion of the full amount spent on potentially preventable stays. Patients with private insurance were responsible for $4.7 billion of the $30.8 billion in 2006.
AHRQ analyzed hospital discharges, with each discharge counting separately for one patient admitted multiple times to a hospital to determine costs. The federal agency applied its prevention quality indicators in the research to determine when a hospital stay might have been considered preventable with improved outpatient care.