Abstract WMP93: Uninsured Patients have Longer Hospital Stays and are Less Likely to Receive Rehab than Insured Patients
Background: In 2010 the estimated direct and indirect cost of stroke was $53.9 billion. The long-term burden to society is thought to be much more costly. Whether or not this sum can be reduced has been a subject of great debate. Recently, healthcare reform has been a priority for policy makers with health insurance as a prevailing issue. We examined the healthcare records of patients in the US who presented with stroke symptoms in a 10-year period from 2001-2011, and compared them to patients in the state of Arizona as well as our University Hospital in the same time period. We then looked for differences in the cost of stroke with regard to variations in insurance status.
Methods: The records of 978,813 patients with stroke symptoms in the US from January 2001 through December 2011 were compared with 18,875 Arizona (AZ) patients. This data was evaluated and compared with data obtained from the records of 1,123 patients admitted to the University Medical Center (UMC), and separated by insurance status, discharge location and length of stay (LOS) for different stroke subtypes. The information was gathered from the get with the guidelines stroke database and only included hospitals that reported their information.
Results: The mean LOS for stroke patients in the US, AZ and UMC were: 5.25 days, 4.69 and 4.75 days, respectively. When separated by insurance status, the mean LOS for patients at UMC with Medicare was 4.27 days (n=470), for Medicaid it was 6.17 days (n=150) and 5.13 days (n=464) for private insurance. Compared with insured patients, uninsured patients had a LOS of 8.18 days (n=39; p=.001). Uninsured patients were discharged home without rehab 24.4% of the time compared with only 8.8% of insured patients (p=.001), even though 93.5% of uninsured patients were considered for rehab.
Conclusion: Uninsured patients had a LOS that was 3.3 days longer than insured patients and had an estimated 72% higher cost of hospitalization. Uninsured patients were almost 3 times less likely than insured patients to be discharged with rehab, and consequently were less likely to achieve long-term functional independence. Ultimately, the price of stroke in the uninsured is paid for by taxpayers, since these patients will require social services granted by the government for disability.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.