In an analysis of more than 24,000 hospitalized patients, researchers found those with vision loss experienced longer mean length of stays, higher readmission rates, and higher costs during their stay and after discharge.
“We found that patients with vision loss used more health care resources and had higher costs and readmission rates than those without vision loss. Vision loss among hospitalized patients contributed to excess health costs of more than $500 million annually,” study co-author Alan R. Morse, JD, PhD, told Healio.com/OSN.
Researchers evaluated 12,330 Medicare beneficiaries and 11,858 commercial health insurance enrollees with or without vision loss and compared lengths of stay, readmission rates, and health care costs during hospitalization and 90 days after discharge. The analysis included 6,165 Medicare enrollees with no vision loss matched with 6,165 Medicare enrollees with vision loss; 3,401 had partial vision loss and 2,764 had severe vision loss. Among commercial health insurance enrollees, 5,929 patients with no vision loss were matched with 5,929 patients with vision loss; 3,515 had partial vision loss and 2,414 had severe vision loss.
Medicare enrollees with severe vision loss had a readmission rate of 23.1% compared with 18.7% for enrollees with no vision loss. Patients with severe vision loss had a 4% longer length of stay compared with patients with no vision loss, 6.48 days vs. 5.26 days. Additionally, patients with severe vision loss had a hospitalization and 90-day post-discharge cost of $64,711 compared with $61,060 for patients with no vision loss. Findings were similar for those with commercial health insurance.
Based on data from the National Health Interview Survey and differences in 90-day costs between Medicare enrollees in the no vision loss and vision loss groups, the researchers estimated $584.2 million in additional costs are associated with hospitalizations in those with vision loss.
“Identifying vision loss prior to or during hospitalization or discharge planning could help to develop strategies for patients with vision loss and improve patient outcomes while reducing costs and functional difficulties during hospitalization and thereafter,” Morse said. – by Robert Linnehan
Disclosures: Morse reports he received grants from Linder Fund outside of the submitted work. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.