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Cost savings attributable to reductions in intensive care unit length of stay for mechanically ventilated patients

Cost savings attributable to reductions in intensive care unit length of stay for mechanically ventilated patients

Medical Care 46(12): 1226-1233

To estimate the actual cost savings that could be achieved through reductions in intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay and duration of mechanical ventilation by determining the short-run marginal variable cost of an ICU and ventilator day. Retrospective cohort study in a university-affiliated teaching hospital. All patients receiving mechanical ventilation in the ICU for more than 48 hours (n = 1778) from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006. The hospital's administrative and cost databases were used to determine total costs, variable costs, and direct-variable costs for each patient on each individual ICU and hospital day. Direct-variable costs comprised 19.3% of total ICU costs and 18.4% of total hospital costs. Marginal direct-variable costs (the cost of each additional ICU day) were small compared with the average daily total cost ($649 to $839 vs. $1751, in US dollars). In survivors with ICU lengths of stay more than 3 days, the mean direct-variable cost of the last ICU day was $397, while the mean direct-variable cost of the first ward day was $279, for a mean cost difference of $118 (95% CI, $21-$190). Reducing ICU and hospital length of stay by 1 day in all survivors with ICU lengths of stay more than 3 days would result in an immediate cost savings of only 0.2% of all hospital expenditures for these patients. Marginal variable ICU costs are relatively small compared with average total costs and are only slightly greater than the cost of a ward day.

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Accession: 052368849

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PMID: 19300312

DOI: 10.1097/MLR.0b013e31817d9342

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