Infections, Newborns and Heart Attacks Among Most Expensive Health Care Costs Interview with:

Celeste M. Torio, Ph.D., M.P.H Scientific Review Officer AHRQ

Dr. Celeste Torio

Celeste M. Torio, Ph.D., M.P.H
Scientific Review Officer
AHRQ What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Torio: Hospital care expenditures constitute the largest single component of health care spending. These expenses are of significant concern to policymakers because of their impact on governments, consumers and insurers. What are the main findings?

• Aggregate hospital costs for 35.6 million hospital stays totaled $381.4 billion in 2013.
• Septicemia, osteoarthritis, newborn infants, complication of device, and acute myocardial infarction are the five most expensive conditions, and account for 1/5 of the total aggregate costs for hospitalizations.
• Sixty-three percent of aggregate hospital costs were covered by Medicare and Medicaid, while 28 percent were covered by private insurance and 5 percent were covered by the uninsured. What should readers take away from your report?

Dr. Torio: Hospitalizations account for one of the most expensive types of health care treatment, especially for septicemia which ranked among the four most costly conditions for all payer groups. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Torio::Future research should examine relevant factors and possible reasons for hospitalizations among the most expensive conditions including the sociodemographic characteristics of patients and how they use care by primary payer, potential disparities between payer groups, and the model of care for these conditions. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


National Inpatient Hospital Costs: The Most Expensive Conditions by Payer, 2013. HCUP Statistical Brief #204. May 2016. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on June 16, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD