Sepsis was the most common inpatient discharge in 2015, costing Medicare more than any other condition or procedure for the first time since the CMS started to release the payment information to the public four years ago.
Joint replacements have historically beat out sepsis and the 98 other inpatient stays the CMS includes in its data set as the most common—and costly—inpatient discharge. But the release this week of 2015 Medicare claims data paints a new picture: payments for joint replacements are on the decline, while sepsis payments are on the upswing.
Sepsis, a life-threatening complication that kills about 250,000 people per year in the U.S., cost Medicare more than $6 billion in 2015, according to a Modern Healthcare analysis of Medicare claims data released this week by the CMS. That figure is more than the $5.6 billion Medicare paid for major joint replacements in 2015.
The cost of sepsis for Medicare jumped from $5.3 billion in 2014 to $6 billion in 2015. The number of sepsis discharges also rose by 82,761 from 2014 to 2015.