Association of in-hospital resource utilization with post-acute spending in Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction: a cross-sectional study

Author Department

Healthcare Quality; Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date




Efforts to decrease hospitalization costs could increase post-acute care costs. This effect could undermine initiatives to reduce overall episode costs and have implications for the design of health care under alternative payment models.


Among Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries aged ≥65 years hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) between July 2010 and June 2013 in the Premier Healthcare Database, we studied the association of in-hospital and post-acute care resource utilization and outcomes by in-hospital cost tertiles.


Among patients with AMI at 326 hospitals, the median (range) of each hospital's mean per-patient in-hospital risk-standardized cost (RSC) for the low, medium, and high cost tertiles were $16,257 ($13,097-$17,648), $18,544 ($17,663-$19,875), and $21,831 ($19,923-$31,296), respectively. There was no difference in the median (IQR) of risk-standardized post-acute payments across cost-tertiles: $5014 (4295-6051), $4980 (4349-5931) and $4922 (4056-5457) for the low (n = 90), medium (n = 98), and high (n = 86) in-hospital RSC tertiles (p = 0.21), respectively. In-hospital and 30-day mortality rates did not differ significantly across the in-hospital RSC tertiles; however, 30-day readmission rates were higher at hospitals with higher in-hospital RSCs: median = 17.5, 17.8, and 18.0% at low, medium, and high in-hospital RSC tertiles, respectively (p = 0.005 for test of trend across tertiles).


In our study of patients hospitalized with AMI, greater resource utilization during the hospitalization was not associated with meaningful differences in costs or mortality during the post-acute period. These findings suggest that it may be possible for higher cost hospitals to improve efficiency in care without increasing post-acute care utilization or worsening outcomes.