A growing number of medical facilities are struggling to maintain the same level of care that their patients demand, according to a new study by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation.
“There are some facilities that are seeing the largest percentage of their costs go to administrative costs, which is an issue that we’ve seen across the country for years,” said Dr. Richard Gagnon, the foundation’s chief medical officer.
“We’ve seen it in our own hospitals, where it’s been a trend.
We’ve seen in our emergency departments, where we’ve had increases in administrative costs.”
Kaiser’s report, The Healthcare Cost Containment and Reduction Act, was released Tuesday and is based on an analysis of nearly 200,000 Medicare claims, and Kaiser Health News was the first to publish it.
The report found that the cost of health care in the United States continues to rise, with a growing number hospitals struggling to keep up with the rising costs of treating patients.
Kaiser found that in 2016, the average cost of a medical treatment at a major hospital in the U.S. was $10,764.
That’s up nearly 25 percent from $8,846 in 2016.
In 2016, Medicare paid for $4.7 billion of the average costs, up from $3.9 billion in 2016 and $2.7 in 2016 (the most recent year for which data was available).
But even when medical care is covered, it’s expensive.
In 2017, the median annual medical care bill for Medicare patients in the top-paying 50 percent of income earners in the country was $5,788, according a Kaiser analysis of data from the American Community Survey.
That was up nearly 50 percent from the $4,300 the median household earned in 2016 but still $541 lower than the $566 median bill for a middle-income family earning $45,000 a year.
The report also found that average costs for medical care at hospitals in the bottom-paying 40 percent of the income distribution increased to $1,837 in 2017 from $1: $1.
The average cost for the average hospital patient increased to about $1 a week from $9.
But while some hospitals are struggling, others have continued to operate with the same costs.
The average hospital cost for an individual in the middle-of-the-road income bracket increased from $7,077 in 2017 to $7.1 million in 2019, while the average health care bill increased from about $6,000 in 2016 to about an average of $7 million in 2017, according the report.
The median hospital bill for the lowest income bracket rose to about a $500 a week in 2017.
The rising costs are particularly troubling in the emergency departments and outpatient departments, which account for about 75 percent of medical costs.
But while emergency departments were not the main source of the increased costs, they did have an outsized role.
The Kaiser report found in 2016 that emergency departments accounted for nearly one-third of the overall hospital costs.
Emergency departments accounted, on average, for almost two-thirds of the medical bills for individuals and families receiving emergency care.
The cost of care was almost a third of the bill for people with diabetes and about a quarter of the cost for those with asthma.
But for the hospital emergency departments alone, emergency department costs grew by more than 80 percent over the last decade.
In 2019, emergency departments reported a $938 increase in costs, while emergency room visits grew by 4 percent and hospitalizations rose by 2 percent.
The findings of the Kaiser report came as Congress is working to reduce the federal deficit and boost the economy, and a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office shows that health care costs are expected to rise again by nearly $500 billion by 2026, a trend that is projected to accelerate as President Donald Trump seeks to slash the deficit.
The House Ways and Means Committee has approved $711 billion in emergency funding for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide money to stabilize health care.
But the bill will only provide about 2 percent of what states and localities are owed.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has yet to take up the $1 trillion-plus funding package.
The bill is expected to be voted on in early January.