KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Two New Studies From A Federal Agency Point To Risks, Costs In Health Care

Two new reports from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality made news Thursday. One addresses the consequences of leaving the hospital against the doctor's orders, while the other notes that health spending on seniors rose by over $100 billion between 1996 and 2006.

McKnight's Long-Term Care News: "The U.S. spent an estimated $333.3 billion on health care for people 65 and over in 2006. That is $106 billion more than in 1996. Within that 10-year period, healthcare spending for Americans aged 65 and older rose by slightly more than $2,000 per person, from about $6,989 to $9,080." The figures were adjusted for inflation (8/28).

U.S. News and World Report: "[P]eople who leave the hospital against doctor's orders are at higher risk of adverse health outcomes and have increased hospital readmission rates, compared with patients who follow doctors' advice." People concerned about medical bills, those with substance abuse problems and non-specific chest pain are more likely to leave hospitals early, and suffer the consequences (Payne, 8/27).

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