Reports From the Field: Hospital charges rise, LOS drops

The average hospital charge for treating a patient admitted for a heart attack increased by about one-third between 1993 and 2000, according to data from the Agency for Health-care Research and Quality (AHRQ).

While the average charge for treating a heart attack patient rose from $20,578 in1993 to $28,663 in 2000, the average length of stay dropped by 26%, from 7.4 days to 5.5 days.

New technologies and rising medication costs account for much of the increase in hospital charges while economic pressures have contributed to shortening the average patient stay, according to the AHRQ report.

For more information, see the AHRQ’s interactive web site, HCUPnet.