CDC: Hypothermia treatment costly for EDs

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that winter can be expensive for emergency departments. That's because as the temperature falls, the number of cases of hypothermia and other cold-related conditions rises--and those conditions are expensive to treat in resource-intensive ERs.

According to the CDC's research, which looked at ER data from 1995 to 2004, most patients treated in ERs for hypothermia or other cold-related diagnoses are typically older males who aren't likely to have health insurance. And to care for these medically-indigent patients, ER staff must conduct expensive procedures like cardiac monitoring, IV fluids and ECGs. Doing that, of course, leaves big unpaid bills in its wake when patients are uninsured.

Patients end up in the ER with hypothermia symptoms for reasons including overexposure to the cold, adverse effects of drug abuse or alcohol, and endocrine, nutritional or metabolic problems.

To find out more about the study:
- read this Healthcare Finance News piece

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