Among all hospital inpatient stays between 2008 and 2012, the average hospital cost of pediatric stays had the highest growth rate (more than 6 percent annually), according to a new Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Statistical Brief. Furthermore wide variation exists in the cost of pediatric hospital stays, which include many low-cost and routine uncomplicated births but also expensive stays for complicated births and nonbirth stays for rare conditions or treatments such as congenital anomalies and organ transplants. This HCUP Statistical Brief – Costs of Pediatric Hospital Stays, 2016 – presents statistics on the cost of hospital inpatient stays among children aged 20 years and younger using the 2016 Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID), which is the only nationwide database specifically developed to study hospitalizations among the pediatric population.
- Births represented about 30 percent of aggregate pediatric hospital costs in 2016 but about 60 percent of stays among children aged 0–20 years.
- In 2016, the average hospital cost for pediatric nonbirth stays was $13,400, compared with $8,900 for stays for complicated births and $1,200 for stays for uncomplicated births.
- Pediatric stays for the circulatory system had the highest average cost in 2016 ($56,300 per stay).
- In 2016, the average cost for stays for complicated births was higher for stays with an expected payer of Medicaid than of private insurance ($9,700 vs. $8,300 per stay). In contrast, the average cost for stays for pediatric nonbirths was lower for stays with an expected payer of Medicaid than of private insurance ($12,600 vs. $14,200 per stay). The average cost for stays for uncomplicated births was similar across expected payers.
- In 2016, pediatric hospital stays for extreme immaturity or respiratory distress syndrome had the highest aggregate costs ($6.5 billion), accounting for nearly 14 percent of all pediatric inpatient costs but less than 2 percent of pediatric stays.
- Stays for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or tracheostomy with ventilator use greater than 96 hours (i.e., forms of life support) had the highest aggregate costs in 2016 among pediatric nonbirths ($1.94 billion). This represented 4 percent of all pediatric inpatient costs, but these types of stays totaled only 5,300 (0.1% of pediatric stays).