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Chronic hepatitis C influences in-patient mortality for Medicare beneficiaries

November's issue of the Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics investigates the impact of chronic hepatitis C on resource utilization and in-patient mortality for Medicare beneficiaries between 2005 and 2010.

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As baby boomers age, chronic hepatitis C (CHC) will become increasingly important in Medicare eligible group.

Dr Younossi and colleagues from Virginia, USA evaluated trends in Medicare resource utilization for chronic hepatitis C.

The team analyzed the Medicare in-patient and out-patient data from 2005 to 2010.

For each patient, all claims with chronic hepatitis C as a principal diagnosis were added up and yearly chronic hepatitis C-related spending was calculated.

A total of 48 880 out-patient claims for 21,655 chronic hepatitis C patients, and 4884 hospital admission claims for 3092 patients were included.

Total yearly spending per patient increased from $488 to $584
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics

The researchers found that number of in-patient or out-patient visits per patient did not change over time, nor did the demographic characteristics of the chronic hepatitis C population.

The majority of this population was eligible for Medicare based on disability and the average number of diagnoses per in-patient claim, and per out-patient claim increased.

The research team noted that the average total yearly spending per patient increased in the out-patient setting from $488 in 2005 to $584 in 2010, and did not change in the in-patient setting.

The researchers noted that the number of diagnoses and conditions per claim and the number of in-patient or out-patient procedures per year were the important independent predictors of increased resource utilization.

Dr Younossi's team concludes, "Most Medicare beneficiaries with chronic hepatitis C who sought in-patient or out-patient care in 2005–2010 had received Medicare for disability."

"Although the total resource utilization did not change, the proportion of patient's responsibility increased."

Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2013: 38(9): 1065–1075
17 October 2013

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