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Study: Hospitalist care raises Medicare costs

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Patients treated by hospitalists spend less time in the hospital and incur lower costs than those treated by primary care physicians, but they are more likely to be readmitted and visit the emergency department, according to a new study.

Patients treated by hospitalists spend less time in the hospital and incur lower costs than those treated by their primary care physicians (PCPs), but they are more likely to be readmitted and visit the emergency department (ED), a new study has found.

Researchers at the Sealy Center on Aging at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, studied the records of 58,000 Medicare admissions at 454 hospitals from 2001 to 2006. They found that patients seen by hospitalists averaged 0.64 fewer days in the hospital, and their charges were $282 less.

Medicare costs for those patients were $332 higher 30 days after discharge ($3,279 versus $2,947), however. The patients also were more likely to have an ED visit.

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© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health