Case mix based on diagnosis-related groups (DRGs) was studied over 3 years for duration of stay and mean charges for a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and a general ward (WARD) population. Case mix variation for 2403 PICU and 14,552 WARD patients was analyzed, and a subset of 856 PICU and 2222 WARD patients examined for variations in duration of stay and mean charges in nine DRGs. Whereas case mix by DRG was consistent over time for both groups, the PICU case mix differed consistenty from WARD case mix (P<0.001). After adjustment for inflation and for differences in case mix, average stay for the PICU was 10.7 days, versus 6.1 for the WARD (P<0.025), with a mean charge of $7172 per PICU and $2946 per WARD patient (P<0.01). Furthermore, the case mix-adjusted differences in duration of stay and mean charge between the PICU and WARD populations increased over time. Pediatricians will need to address DRG-based reimbursement systems that place intensive care units, and their institutions, at a significant financial disadvantage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health