Trauma Center Care Costs Warranted, Study Suggests
Trauma center treatment cost more when compared with non-trauma centers, but the overall benefits in terms of lives saved and quality of life-years gained, represents a more cost-effective way of treating patients with major trauma.
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study found that the added cost of treatment at a trauma center versus a non-trauma center is $36,319 for every life-year gained or $790,931 per life saved. This is despite the fact that initial care in trauma centers is 71% higher than in non-trauma centers, say the researchers in The Journal of Trauma Injury, Infection and Critical Care.
Sources for the study include:
- Data from 5,043 major trauma patients enrolled in the National Study on Costs and Outcomes of Trauma, a prospective study of severely injured adult patients cared for in 69 hospitals (18 trauma centers and 51 non-trauma centers) in 14 states
- Claims data from CMS
- UB92 hospital bills
- Patient interviews
In addition to care received in the hospital, costs linked with:
- Hospital transport,
- Treatment at transferring hospital,
- Rehospitalizations for acute care,
- Inpatient rehabilitation,
- Stays in long-term facilities,
- Outpatient care,
- Informal care from friends or family members
Lifetime costs were modeled using age-specific estimates of per capita personal health expenditures for the general U.S. population, along limited data on the impact of certain injures on lifetime healthcare costs.
While the value of a year of life is the subject of considerable debate, the researchers say that the costs per life-year saved at a trauma center are "well within an acceptable range of other cost-effective, life-saving interventions reported in the literature."