Results from a new study, based on thousands of hospitalizations in Florida-based hospital emergency rooms, found that over a period of seven years emergency departments that experienced rises in expenses, subsequently had drops in patient fatalities.
Results published in a July edition of “American Economic Journal: Applied Economics” reported that “an increase of about $4,000 per patient in hospital expenditures resulted in a 1.4 percentage-point decrease in mortality rates.”
“More intensive and expensive treatment leads to better outcomes,” said Joseph Doyle, an economics expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who conducted the study. “The higher-spending hospitals use more ICU services, and they have higher staff-to-patient ratios, so they use more labor, and that’s expensive.”
Nearly 37,000 non-residents, who suffered from various cardiovascular conditions, visited Florida-based emergency departments in need of patient care.
Doyle noted in a Massachusetts Institute of Technology news article, that “the per capita income of an area does not necessarily correlate with hospital spending.”
To exemplify, he compared average emergency room expenses for two cities, just 45 miles apart. The outcome was that hospitals based in Fort Lauderdale had spent more than 25 percent more than hospitals in West Palm Beach.
Furthermore, emergency departments that housed more hospital physicians, nurses, and others with physician service jobs showed higher spending for emergency care.