What Price?

Angie SzumlinskiHealth, Studies

The cost of a fall among older adults requiring emergency services is unclear, especially beyond the acute care period. In a recent study, medical expenditures (costs) to 1 year among community-dwelling older adults who fell and required ambulance transport, including acute versus post-acute periods, the primary drivers of cost and comparison to baseline expenditures were evaluated.

Results showed that the median age was 83 years, with 74% female and 41.9% requiring admission during the index visit. The median total cost of a fall to 1 year was $26,143 including acute care median $1,957 and post-acute median $20,560. Baseline costs for the previous year were median of $8,642.

In conclusion, older adults who fall and require emergency services have increased healthcare expenditures compared with baseline, particularly during the post-acute period. Comorbidities, noninjury medical conditions, fracture type, and surgical interventions were independently associated with increased costs. At the end of the day, Medicare and Medicaid are paying a lot of money to treat people who fall. These statistics are community-based adults, comparing that to post-acute care, our fall rates are likely higher. We need to continue to work on fall reduction strategies not only to keep our residents from being injured but also to assist in maintaining the integrity of the Medicare and Medicaid system. We all need our coverage as beneficiaries someday, let’s make sure it is there for us! Stay the course, stay strong, stay well, mask up, and stay tuned!