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Hospital admissions drop 19%, outpatient push continues as New Jersey's healthcare costs soar

Amid increasing healthcare consolidation and rising healthcare costs, New Jersey saw a 19 percent drop in hospital admissions from 2012 to 2016, NJ.com reports.

The finding came from New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute data based on healthcare claims by private insurers.

Here are five insights:

1. The price of care delivery in New Jersey rose 38 percent from 2012 to 2016, causing inpatient spending to grow by nearly 13 percent despite the state's decrease in hospital admissions.

2. During that timeframe, healthcare spending rose 15 percent nationally and 18 percent in New Jersey.

3. Meanwhile, employers and insurance companies continued encouraging patients to opt for outpatient surgery centers and testing labs over hospitals in an effort to reduce costs.

"You can say we are doing a pretty good job reducing unnecessary utilization, like extra testing and other care that doesn't have a lot of value," New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute President and CEO Linda Schwimmer told NJ.com. "But that is not going to be enough."

4. Out of the 72 hospitals in New Jersey, only a dozen aren't part of a larger system or chain. Ms. Schwimmer said she's unsure whether increased consolidation in healthcare over the last decade contributed to price increases.

5. New Jersey has the nation's fifth-highest healthcare costs, according to the nonpartisan think tank Health Care Cost Institute.

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