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National Incidence Of Medical Transfer: Patient Characteristics And Regional Variation

Author: ANDREW REIMER, NICHOLAS SCHILTZ, SIRAN M KOROUKIAN and ELIZABETH A MADIGAN
Published in JHHSA, Vol. 38 No. 4

The aim of this descriptive study was to establish and describe the national incidence, cost, and outcomes of patients that undergo medical transfer. Using discharge data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample 2011, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the dataset was analyzed using weighted frequency distribution. Approximately 1.6 million patients are transferred yearly. Transferred patients experience a mean length of stay of 9.3 days (std dv 13.5) versus 4.3 days for patients not transferred (std dv 6.0), and cost more than twice as much (mean $19,234) versus those not transferred (mean $9,469). Additionally, patients who undergo inter-facility transfer cost an additional $15.8 billion annually. Interhospital patient transfers require closer scrutiny regarding appropriateness and future policy implications.

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