Study: Sepsis costs, mortality rate higher in teaching hospitals

Teaching hospitals provide care for children with sepsis at a greater cost without improving mortality rates, when compared to non-teaching hospitals, new data suggests.

Researcher Benson Hsu, M.D., of Sanford School of Medicine, and colleagues investigated the impact of teaching hospital status on pediatric patients with a diagnosis of sepsis in terms of financial cost, the use of resources and mortality, according to an article by Healio Pediatrics. 

After analyzing data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 2009 Kids' Inpatient Database, researchers found the diagnosis of sepsis carried a high mortality rate and morbidity along with annual costs greater than $2 billion, according to the study.

Out of 11,893 pediatric patients discharged with septicemia and disseminated infections:

  • 5,085 came from non-teaching hospitals, while 6,808 came from teaching hospitals;
  • had a mortality rate of 1.63 percent in non-teaching compared to 4.66 percent in teaching hospitals;
  • had an average stay length of 4.86 days in non-teaching hospitals compared to 8.13 days in teaching hospitals;
  • had an average number of 0.89 procedures in a non-teaching hospital versus 2.04 procedures in a teaching hospitals; and
  • had total hospitalization charges of $29,829 in non-teaching hospitals compared to $65,639 in teaching hospitals

Septicemia tops the list of most expensive inpatient conditions to treat, costing $20.3 billion in 2011, FierceHealthcare previously reported. Even when researchers examined only the highest severity of illness, the trend remained:

  • 592 discharges in non-teaching hospitals as compared to 2,034 in teaching hospitals;
  • 12.5 percent mortality rate among patients admitted to non-teaching hospitals for sepsis compared to 14.01 percent in teaching hospitals;
  • average stay length of 10.91 days versus 14.19 days in a teaching hospital;
  • average number of procedures was 3.31 compared to 4.3 in teaching hospitals; and
  • total hospitalization charges of $113,384 versus $143,999 in teaching hospitals.

The findings, presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics' national conference, were contrary to previous studies attributing higher costs and resource utilization in teaching hospitals, but having similar clinical outcomes, researchers said.

To learn more:
- read the study
- check out Healio Pediatrics' article

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