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U.S. Hospitals' Administrative Costs 'Exceed All Others': New Health Affairs Study

doctor patient health care

Administrative costs account for a quarter of all spending by U.S hospitals, according to a new Commonwealth Fund–supported study in Health Affairs that compares these costs across eight nations. The United States had the highest administrative costs per person, while Scotland and Canada had the lowest. Reducing these costs to Scottish or Canadian levels would have saved the U.S. more than $150 billion in 2011.

Also in the new issue of Health Affairs, which focuses on global health policy: 

  • The virtues of the Chronic Care Model, which emphasizes provider teamwork, communication and goal-setting, and patients' participation in their own care, are demonstrated in a study by Stephanie Stock and colleagues. The authors focus on two diabetes management programs, one in Pennsylvania and the other in Germany.
  • In their evaluation of three new integrated care delivery networks in Germany, the Netherlands, and England, Reinhard Busse and Juliane Stahl find the top performer to be Germany’s Gesundes Kinzigtal, which uses a regional population-based approach. The system has saved more than $200 per patient per year and achieved decreased mortality, higher patient satisfaction, and greater cooperation among care providers. 

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