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Study Finds Variations in Payments to Hospitals Associated with Hospitals Independently of Non–Time-Varying Patient Characteristics

A new study found that Medicare patients with heart failure or pneumonia likely had more costs associated with the hospital where they were receiving treatment than their acuity, writes Healthcare Dive. For the study, published in JAMA Network Open, researchers randomly studied 1.22 million patients discharged between July 2013 and June 2016, and further isolated them to 1,615 patient pairs who were admitted twice for the same conditions to hospitals with high and low payment profiles. The median payments up to 30 days after admission when divided by upper and lower quartile ranged from $13,789 to $16,651 for heart failure and $13,606 to $18,382 for pneumonia. The study found spending on heart failure patients treated at lower-cost hospitals was $2,118 lower than at higher-cost hospitals. Spending on pneumonia patients was $2,907 less at the low-cost hospitals than the high-cost hospitals. Mortality rates and other outcomes were similar for both groups.

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