Skip Navigation Archive: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Archive: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality
Archive print banner

Hospital Cost Increases Appear To Be Slowing

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to for current information.

AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: August 27, 2008

The cost of patient care in U.S. hospitals rose just under 1 percent between 2005 and 2006, much slower than the average 5.3 percent per year between 1997 and 2005, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). However, over the 9-year period from 1997 to 2006, the overall cost for stays in the hospital nearly doubled from $177 billion to $329 billion.

AHRQ's new analysis also found that:

  • Nearly half the increase in overall costs (47 percent) was due to the increased intensity of care in the hospital, such as increased use of procedures, technologies, and other interventions.
  • About one-third of the cost increases were due to inflation and 16 percent resulted from an increase in the number of patients due to population growth.

The findings suggest that rapid growth in the adoption of managed care plans and the shift to outpatient care have slowed the growth in the use of inpatient care.

This AHRQ News and Numbers summary is based on data in HCUP Facts and Figures, 2006, which provides highlights of the latest data from the 2006 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a part of AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. The report is available at

The report provides data on leading reasons for hospitalization, such as arthritis, asthma, childbirth, cancer, diabetes, depression, and heart conditions, on procedures performed on hospital patients, and on related topics.

For more information about AHRQ's hospital care data, contact Bob Isquith at, or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of August 2008


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


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care