Annual Cost of U.S. Hospital Visits for Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma
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Annual Cost of U.S. Hospital Visits for Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma

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  • Alternative Title:
    Child Maltreat
  • Description:
    We estimated the frequency and direct medical cost from the provider perspective of U.S. hospital visits for pediatric abusive head trauma (AHT). We identified treat-and-release hospital emergency department (ED) visits and admissions for AHT among patients aged 0-4 years in the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample and Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS), 2006-2011. We applied cost-to-charge ratios and estimated professional fee ratios from Truven Health MarketScan(®) to estimate per-visit and total population costs of AHT ED visits and admissions. Regression models assessed cost differences associated with selected patient and hospital characteristics. AHT was diagnosed during 6,827 (95% confidence interval [CI] [6,072, 7,582]) ED visits and 12,533 (95% CI [10,395, 14,671]) admissions (28% originating in the same hospital's ED) nationwide over the study period. The average medical cost per ED visit and admission were US$2,612 (error bound: 1,644-3,581) and US$31,901 (error bound: 29,266-34,536), respectively (2012 USD). The average total annual nationwide medical cost of AHT hospital visits was US$69.6 million (error bound: 56.9-82.3 million) over the study period. Factors associated with higher per-visit costs included patient age <1 year, males, coexisting chronic conditions, discharge to another facility, death, higher household income, public insurance payer, hospital trauma level, and teaching hospitals in urban locations. Study findings emphasize the importance of focused interventions to reduce this type of high-cost child abuse.
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