AHRQ: Medical cost increases slowing, but still rapid

While patient-care cost increases have slowed, the overall cost for inpatient hospital visits has almost doubled over the past nine years, according to new data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Between 2005 and 2006, patient-care costs in U.S. hospitals rose a little less than 1 percent, a substantial fall from the average 5.3 percent per year between 1997 and 2005. Analysts said that managed care-related cost controls and a shift to outpatient care seem to be playing a role in holding down costs. However, from 1997 to 2006, the overall cost for hospital stays grew 85 percent, to $329 billion from $177 billion in 1997. The AHRQ analysis attributes nearly half the growth in overall costs to the increased use of procedures, technology and other interventions in hospitals, while another third was because of inflation.

To learn more about the study:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece

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