Financial Risk and Hospital Cost for Elderly Patients: Age- and Non—Age-Stratified Medical Diagnosis Related Groups
National Health Programs
The purpose of this study was to analyze hospital resource consumption for Medicare patients in non-age- and age-stratified medical diagnosis related groups (DRGs). This study of patients in 74 non-age-stratified DRGs (N = 3643) and 113 age-stratified DRGs (N = 2898) demonstrated that older medical patients (usually greater than or equal to 75 to 80 years of age) had (on average) higher total hospital costs, a longer hospital length of stay, more diagnoses per patient, a greater percentage of outliers, and a higher mortality compared with younger patients in these same DRGs. These findings raise the question of the equity of DRG payment vis-à-vis older Medicare patients in both non-age- and age-stratified medical DRGs. Financial disincentives to treat older medical patients may limit both their access and quality of care in the future.