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May 1988

Predicting Hospital Charges for Trauma Care

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery (Drs Pories and Gamelli) and Biometry (Ms Vacek), University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington; and Medical Center Hospital of Vermont, Burlington (Mssrs Harris and Lea).

Arch Surg. 1988;123(5):579-582. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1988.01400290061009

• Diagnosis related groups (DRGs) have sharply decreased the amount of compensation hospitals can expect for providing trauma care. A total of 637 patients admitted for acute traumatic injuries between Oct 1, 1985, and July 30, 1986, had their DRG classifications, Injury Severity Scores, trauma scores, and ages compared with hospital charges in an attempt to identify factors that could be used to accurately predict hospital charges. The best prediction of charges was obtained when DRG assignment was combined with Injury Severity Scores and age. When the equation obtained by this approach was applied to a separate population of 301 patients, the average difference between the actual charge and that predicted was $38 and would have led to a 33-fold decrease In money lost by the hospital. Altering the DRG payment schedule as proposed would allow hospitals to be fairly compensated for the care of trauma patients.

(Arch Surg 1988;123:579-582)