Hospital charges for stroke patients

Mark J. Alberts, Cynthia A. Bennett, Valinda R. Rutledge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: Stroke is a common disease with a yearly cost in the United States of approximately $30 billion. The increasing prevalence of managed care and cost containment measures may affect the delivery of stroke care now and in the future. This study was performed to determine (1) hospital charges and test utilization for stroke patients and (2) the effectiveness of educational efforts in modifying test utilization and related hospital charges. Methods: Patients with a diagnosis of stroke who were discharged from either the neurology service or another service of the Department of Medicine (DOM) were identified. Data on test utilization and hospital charges were collected and analyzed. Following this analysis, educational sessions were held in an effort to reduce the use of specific diagnostic tests. The effectiveness of these methods was studied in a second group of stroke patients. Results: In the baseline period there were 303 stroke patients, of which 262 (86%) were discharged from the neurology service and 41 (14%) were discharged from other services of the DOM. Patients on the neurology service had a lower mean length of stay than patients on the other services of the DOM (9.2 days versus 10.5 days) and lower mean total charges per case ($13 149 versus $15 727), although the respective differences were not statistically significant. Patients on the neurology service were more likely to have both brain CT and MRI performed (82 of 262 patients, 31.3%) than patients on the other services of the DOM (4 of 41.9.8%, P=.005). In addition, patients on the neurology service were more likely to undergo a transthoracic echocardiogram than patients on the other services of the DOM (71.8% versus 53.7%, P=.025). After educational sessions, the percentage of stroke patients on the neurology service having both CT and MRI fell from 31.3% to 17.7% (P=.005), and the number of stroke patients having a transthoracic echocardiogram fell from 71.8% to 60.3% (P=.025). However, the overall charges for stroke patients on the neurology service did not decrease. Conclusions: Education can be successful in reducing the utilization of and associated charges for specific diagnostic tests for some stroke patients. A multidisciplinary approach to case management, using tools such as care maps, may be necessary to realize significant cost savings in certain groups of stroke patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1825-1828
Number of pages4
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1996


  • costs and cost analysis
  • diagnostic tests
  • hospitalization
  • quality of healthcare
  • stroke management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing

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  • Cite this

    Alberts, M. J., Bennett, C. A., & Rutledge, V. R. (1996). Hospital charges for stroke patients. Stroke, 27(10), 1825-1828.