What Medical Conditions Drive Hospital Costs in Canada between 1998-1999 and 2003-2004?

67 Pages Posted: 24 May 2011

See all articles by Ruolz Ariste

Ruolz Ariste

Université Laval; Université du Quebec en Outaouais (UQO)

Date Written: October 1, 2006


Few studies have dealt with the growth of hospital costs by medical condition. In Canada, most existing studies address the level of costs for certain illnesses in a given year; they have not tackled changes in hospital costs by disease. This document on acute care costs by medical condition uses Canadian administrative data and a bottom-up approach to identify the top 20 medical conditions with the highest acute care hospital costs in 2003-2004 and primarily responsible for the growth in acute care hospital costs.

Cost is defined as the product of average cost per case for a given illness times the number of cases relative to this illness. A number of adjustments were made to account for co-morbidities, outliers and price differences across the Canadian provinces. The top five medical conditions with the highest average cost per case are: Chronic Rheumatic Heart Diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, Decubitus Ulcers, Cardiomyopathy and Brain Cancer. As for volume, the top five medical conditions with the highest number of cases are: Complications of Pregnancy, Pneumonia, Heart Attack, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Mood Disorders. So, a given condition could be among the most expensive ones – in terms of total acute care costs – either because of its high average cost, or its high volume or a combination of the two. It follows that the top five most expensive medical conditions are: Complications of Pregnancy, Heart Attack, Mood Disorders, Arthrosis and Cerebrovascular Diseases. The medical conditions that drive acute care hospital costs are obviously the most expensive ones with high growth rates. They include: Heart Attack, COPD, Cerebrovascular Diseases, but also others such as Atrial Fibrillation, Diabetes, Colon Cancer, Diseases of Appendix, Schizophrenia and Injuries to the Hip and Thigh.

Keywords: Hospital Costs, Medical Conditions

JEL Classification: C13, H51, I19

Suggested Citation

Ariste, Ruolz, What Medical Conditions Drive Hospital Costs in Canada between 1998-1999 and 2003-2004? (October 1, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1846805 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1846805

Ruolz Ariste (Contact Author)

Université Laval

2214 Pavillon J-A. DeSeve
Quebec, Quebec G1K 7P4

Université du Quebec en Outaouais (UQO) ( email )

Case postale 1250
succursale Hull
Gatineau, Québec J8X 3X7

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