Hospital and patient characteristics of uncompensated hospital care

Policy implications

R. M. Saywell, T. W. Zollinger, D. K W Chu, C. A. MacBeth, M. E. Sechrist

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    15 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    For this study, a sample of 1,689 patients classified as 'charity' and 'bad debt' cases in 1986 were identified from 27 general acute care hospitals and one tertiary hospital in Indiana. Half of the hospitals were in rural areas and 57 percent were small (less than 150 beds). Most of the patients (87.2 percent) incurred uncompensated amounts under $2,500, and 40 percent of the cases were below $500. About 72 percent of the patients with uncompensated care were from the same county as the location of the hospital (range from 30.9% to 100.0%). The majority of the cases (79.4%) with over $5,000 in uncompensated care were treated in urban hospitals. The average age of these patients was 27.2 years. Fifty-four percent of the patients were single, 60.7 percent were female, and nearly all (83.0 percent) were discharged to home care. Only 44.6 percent of the patients with uncompensated care had no insurance; 46.8 percent had some form of commercial insurance which covered part of the charges for care. The most common diagnosis for these patients was pregnancy and childbirth (22.8 percent), with injury and poisoning second (10.7 percent). The cases with $5,000 or more in bad debt (about 4 percent of the cases) account for 28.3 percent of the total uncollected amount. Bad debt represents a cost of doing business. Any national effort to contain health care costs must address this problem.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)287-307
    Number of pages21
    JournalJournal of Health Politics, Policy and Law
    Volume14
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - 1989

    Fingerprint

    Uncompensated Care
    indebtedness
    insurance
    Insurance
    costs
    home care
    Charities
    pregnancy
    rural area
    Urban Hospitals
    Home Care Services
    health care
    Tertiary Care Centers
    Health Care Costs
    Poisoning
    Parturition
    Costs and Cost Analysis
    Pregnancy
    Wounds and Injuries

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine (miscellaneous)
    • Health Policy
    • Nursing(all)
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • Health(social science)
    • Law
    • Health Professions(all)

    Cite this

    Saywell, R. M., Zollinger, T. W., Chu, D. K. W., MacBeth, C. A., & Sechrist, M. E. (1989). Hospital and patient characteristics of uncompensated hospital care: Policy implications. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, 14(2), 287-307.

    Hospital and patient characteristics of uncompensated hospital care : Policy implications. / Saywell, R. M.; Zollinger, T. W.; Chu, D. K W; MacBeth, C. A.; Sechrist, M. E.

    In: Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, Vol. 14, No. 2, 1989, p. 287-307.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Saywell, RM, Zollinger, TW, Chu, DKW, MacBeth, CA & Sechrist, ME 1989, 'Hospital and patient characteristics of uncompensated hospital care: Policy implications', Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 287-307.
    Saywell, R. M. ; Zollinger, T. W. ; Chu, D. K W ; MacBeth, C. A. ; Sechrist, M. E. / Hospital and patient characteristics of uncompensated hospital care : Policy implications. In: Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. 1989 ; Vol. 14, No. 2. pp. 287-307.
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