Increasing number of opioid-related hospitalizations impacts healthcare costs — 5 points

A study published in the journal Health Affairs offers new insights into the impact of opioid-related hospitalizations and infectious complications on healthcare costs, as reported by News-Medical.

Study co-author Shoshana Herzig, MD, a hospitalist and director of hospital medicine research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues used discharge data from a nationally representative sample of U.S. inpatient hospitalizations between 2002 and 2012.

Here are five points:

1. Opioid-related hospitalizations rose 72 percent to 520,275 between 2002 and 2012.

2. Opioid-related hospitalizations with serious infection rose 91 percent to 6,535 between 2002 and 2012.

3. In 2012, the estimated total charge per hospitalization related to opioid abuse/dependence was more than $28,000. It cost more than $107,000 for hospitalizations due to opioid abuse/dependence with associated infection.

4. Nationally, total inpatient charges related to opioid abuse/dependence nearly quadrupled between 2002 and 2012, reaching $15 billion in 2012, with $700 million of that going to pay for hospitalizations related to opioid-associated infections.

5. Only 20 percent of discharges related to opioid abuse/dependence and 14 percent of discharges with associated infection were covered by private insurance.

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