Higher spending on emergency care is tied to lower mortality rates, according to a new study.
Higher ER spending tied to lower mortality rates: study
The study also found that higher spending on emergency care is associated with higher staff-to-patient ratios, a greater reliance on intensive-care-unit services and a greater likelihood of a patient receiving treatment in a teaching hospital. The study was conducted by an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; results were published in the July issue of American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.
The study looked at 37,000 hospitalizations for out-of-state visitors who were admitted to emergency rooms in Florida for seven years, beginning in 1996. It also found that an increase of "about $4,000 per patient in hospital expenditures led to a 1.4 percentage-point decrease in the mortality rate," according to an MIT news release.
"The higher-spending hospitals use more ICU services, and they have higher staff-to-patient ratios, so they use more labor," MIT economist Joseph Doyle, the report's author, in a news release. "And that's expensive."
Dr. Sandra Schneider, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said in an ACEP news release that emergency room visits are expected to increase because of the growing elderly population and Medicaid patients who cannot find doctors to treat them.
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.