Sicker And Costlier: Healthcare Utilization Of U.S. Hospital Employees

Source: Thomson Reuters, Research Brief, August 2011
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U.S. hospital workers are less healthy, consume more medical services, and accrue higher healthcare costs than the U.S. workforce at large, according to a study conducted by the Healthcare business of Thomson Reuters.

Researchers analyzed the health risk and healthcare utilization of 1.1 million hospital workers and their dependents and compared them with 17.8 million health plan members in all industries for the year ending with the third quarter of 2010. They used the Thomson Reuters MarketScan® databases, a repository of healthcare claims representing the real-world healthcare experience of millions of Americans. This study looked exclusively at workers with employer-sponsored health insurance.

The study found:
• Healthcare costs (medical care and prescription drugs) were 10 percent higher for hospital workers than the general employee population and 13 percent higher when employees’ dependents were included.

•Health risk for hospital employees and their dependents was 8.6 percent higher (based on a research methodology that assesses patient demographics, inpatient and outpatient diagnoses, and prescription drug use).

•Hospital employees and their dependents were more likely to be diagnosed and hospitalized for chronic medical conditions, including asthma, diabetes, congestive heart failure, HIV, hypertension, and mental illness.

•Hospital workers and their dependents were 22 percent more likely to visit the emergency room and spent 18 percent more time hospitalized.

•Hospital employees and their dependents had fewer physician office visits and received less ambulatory care than the employee population at large.

•A hospital or health system with 16,000 employees would save an estimated $1.5 million annually in medical and pharmacy costs for each 1 percent reduction in health risk.

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