The Effect of a Medical Toxicology Inpatient Service in an Academic Tertiary Care Referral Center
Morbidity and mortality from poison- and drug-related illness continue to rise in the USA. Medical toxicologists are specifically trained to diagnose and manage these patients. Inpatient medical toxicology services exist but their value-based economic benefits are not well established.
This was a retrospective study where length of stay (LOS) and payments received between a hospital with an inpatient medical toxicology service (TOX) and a similar hospital in close geographic proximity that does not have an inpatient toxicology service (NONTOX) were compared. Controlling for zip code, demographics and distance patients lived from each hospital, we used a fitted multivariate linear regression model to identify factors associated with changes in LOS and payment.
Patients admitted to the TOX center had 0.87 days shorter LOS per encounter and the hospital received an average of $1800 more per patient encounter.
In this study, the presence of an inpatient medical toxicology service was associated with decreased patient LOS and increased reimbursement for admitted patients. Differences may be attributable to improved direct patient care provided by medical toxicologists, but future prospective studies are needed.
KeywordsMedical toxicology service Economics Quality of health care
Sources of Funding
This study received the 2013 Medical Toxicology Foundation (MTF) Medical Toxicology Practice Award.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflicts of Interest
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