Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) recently expanded its reporting on emergency room (ER) spending trends to include the most recent data available (2016). They characterized trends in spending, price, and utilization for the five Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes designed to capture the level of severity and complexity of every ER visit. While average prices for all five ER CPT codes were higher in 2016 than in 2009, the average prices for higher severity codes rose at a faster rate than low severity codes. Combined with more use of the high severity codes (despite decreases in overall ER use), these price increases contributed to large spending hikes – per person spending for the two most severe codes grew by more than 100% over the seven years studied.
- ER spending among the commercially insured continued to rise in 2016, driven by the price and use of high severity cases (2009-2016). HCCI Blog: Healthy Bytes. May 2018.