Bioethics Implementation = ICU Cost Savings for Hospitals
Written by: Lynne E. Porter M.D., FACP
Few decision makers understand how bioethics training promotes cost reduction in American health care while improving quality of care and patient satisfaction.
Many consider it a luxury and justify the lack saying, “I don’t have the time.”
Well… the decision makers better make time — time to understand the cost effectiveness that the implementation of bioethics training can make to the bottom line, particularly in the ICU!
It’s one of the biggest costs in a hospital’s budget and is very poorly reimbursed compared to costs of regular rooms. A study of 200 hospitals across the country showed that they lost $5.8 billion on Medicare patients who were in the ICU for just one day; if there was no ICU stay, the hospitals made $2 billion.
There is other evidence of ICU cost savings when a bioethics program is in place: length of stays are decreased because other options (palliative care/hospice) are chosen; physicians are more time efficient because they can address and resolve problematic care issues up front; and nursing hours per patient are decreased because patients don’t stay as long and less time is spent talking over vexing issues.
These shown quantitative improvements should be enough to rivet administrators’ attention and make them reconsider the time investment attached to effective bioethics training. Those with the foresight to take a closer look will be impressed by the many qualitative benefits for the institution, staff, patients, and patients’ families, as well!