PloS one 2017 03 1612(3) e0173451 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0173451
The rising cost of healthcare is of great concern in China, as evidenced by the media features negative reports almost daily. However there are only a few studies from well-developed cities, like Beijing or Shanghai, and little is known about healthcare costs in rest of the country. In this study, we use hospitalization summary reports (HSRs) from admitted cardiovascular diseases patients in Guangxi hospitals during 2013-2016, and we investigate temporal trends of healthcare costs and associated factors.
By generalized additive model, we compute temporal trends of cost per stay (CPS), cost per day (CPD) and others. We then use generalized linear models to assess which factors associate with CPS and CPD.
Using a total of 760,000 HSRs, we find that CPS appears to be stabilized around $1040 until the middle of year 2015, before exhibiting a downward trend. Similarly, CPD exhibits similar stable pattern. Meanwhile, surgery-specific CPS showed an increase in year 2013-2014, and then stabilized. Drug costs account for over 1/3 of CPS, but they are gradually declining. Costs associated with physicians’ and nurses’ services represent less than 5% of CPS. We found that age, sex, marital status, occupation and payment methods are significantly associated with CPS or CPD. Interestingly, we found no association between patient ethnicity and these costs. However, we did find that minority patients use more secondary hospitals than Han patients.
Healthcare costs in Guangxi are stable, contrary to the rise portrayed by Chinese mass media. Several factors can be associated with healthcare costs, and these may be useful for developing evidence-based policies. In particular, there is a need to encourage more Han patients to seek care in primary and secondary hospitals.