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Cost of Hospital Treatment for Blood Infection Surges, Especially for Uninsured Patients

AHRQ News and Numbers, June 9, 2010

AHRQ News and Numbers provides statistical highlights on the use and cost of health services and health insurance in the United States.

Hospital costs for treating patients with the blood infection septicemia surged 174 percent between 2001 and 2007, making it the condition with highest-rising treatment costs during that period, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Although just 3 percent of $12.3 billion in 2007 was spent treating blood infections in uninsured patients, they accounted for the highest average increase of 228 percent. By comparison, the average cost to hospitals of treating blood infections in Medicaid patients jumped by 192 percent, in Medicare patients by 172 percent, and in privately insured patients by 152.5 percent.

In addition, the Federal agency found that other conditions with rapidly increasing cost, grouped by payer, included:

  • Medicare—Intestinal infection 205 percent; acute kidney failure 154 percent.
  • Uninsured—Acute kidney failure 179 percent; respiratory failure 154 percent.
  • Medicaid—Acute kidney failure 160 percent; leukemia and other white blood cell disease 127 percent.
  • Privately insured—Osteoarthritis 120 percent; acute kidney failure 119 percent.

This AHRQ News and Numbers is based on data in Diagnostic Groups with Rapidly Increasing Costs, by Payer, 2001-2007. The report uses statistics from the 2007 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

For other information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Bob Isquith at or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of June 2010
Internet Citation: Cost of Hospital Treatment for Blood Infection Surges, Especially for Uninsured Patients: AHRQ News and Numbers, June 9, 2010. June 2010. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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