Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

HERO On line Working Paper Series,
Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme

No 2016:9: Acute admissions to a community hospital: a descriptive cost study

Øystein Lappegard , Terje P. Hagen () and Per Hjortdahl
Additional contact information
Øystein Lappegard: Vestre Viken Hospital Trust, Postal: Department of Hallingdal sjukestugu, Medical Clinic of Ringerike General Hospital, Vestre Viken Hospital Trust, Norway
Terje P. Hagen: Department of Health Management and Health Economics, Postal: HERO / Department of Health Management and Health Economics, P.O. Box 1089 Blindern, NO-0317 Oslo, Norway
Per Hjortdahl: Department of General Practice, Postal: Department of General Practice, Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo., Norway

Abstract: Introduction: In several countries, health-care providers are searching for alternatives to hospitalization. In recent years, a practice has been established in Hallingdal, a rural region in Norway, in which patients with certain acute somatic illnesses are admitted to Hallingdal Sjukestugu (HSS), a community hospital 150 km from the nearest general hospital, Ringerike Sykehus (RS). A randomized, controlled study was carried out to compare health consequences, patient-perceived quality and health-care costs between patients acutely admitted to HSS and to RS. This paper discusses the topic of health-care costs. Methods: Patients intended for acute admission to HSS, as an alternative to hospitalization, were included in the study. Eligible patients were randomized to two groups; admitted to HSS (n = 33), and admitted to RS (n = 27). Costs were compared between the two groups at discharge and for the 12-month follow-up. Results: The cost of the inpatient stay at HSS was significantly lower than the cost at RS, which is explained by lower transport costs (p

Keywords: health economy; rural health care systems; patient admission; emergency health-care services; general practitioners; community hospitals

JEL-codes: H42; I18

18 pages, December 6, 2016

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