Overall, heart failure costs were approximately $31 billion in 2012—$21 billion was composed of direct costs and $10 billion was attributed to indirect costs.1
1% to 2% of total health care spending in developed countries is attributed to heart failure costs.2 With the prevalence of heart failure rising each year, the financial burden is expected to increase.1
*Data derived from study of heart failure patients in Minneapolis whose costs were collected from diagnosis to death. Study was conducted after a mean follow-up of nearly 5 years.2
Hospitalizations were responsible for the majority of these costs, with an average of $73,762 per person. The highest percentages of inpatient costs are attributed to2:
The average length of stay is 4.77 days per heart failure patient.3
Outpatient costs account for about 23% of the total direct costs, with the highest proportion due to evaluation and management and procedures. Among evaluation and management, the majority of costs were due to office visits. In fact, in 2010 there were 1.8 million office visits with a primary diagnosis of heart failure.2,4
The burden of heart failure and its costs is particularly high for older patients, because the prevalence and incidence of heart failure increase with age.4 Furthermore, about 80% of hospitalizations for heart failure occur among elderly patients.5
Heart failure remains the number one reason for hospitalization in patients aged 65 years and older.6 In the United States, heart failure takes up more Medicare dollars than any other diagnosis.2
In a study of discharged elderly Medicare beneficiaries with a diagnosis of heart failure, within 6 months7:
In a separate study of Medicare readmission rates, heart failure was associated with the highest rate of 30-day readmission (27%), even higher than the other common causes of readmission in the Medicare population (ie, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), psychoses).8
The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, a component of the Affordable Care Act, is designed to reduce the frequency of rehospitalization of Medicare patients by penalizing hospitals with excessive readmission rates for certain conditions, including heart failure9:
More information about readmission penalties can be found here.
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