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Medical numeracy

November 2014

Published in the November 2014 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

NUMBERS TELL STORIES about our patients “vital signs, lab values, hospital length of stay, just to name a few. But numbers also tell stories about our profession and us. Here are some telling statistics.

Total number of registered hospitals: 5,723
Total number of beds: 920,829
Total number of annual admissions: 36 million
Total annual expenses: $830 billion

Annual cost of hospital administration in the U.S.: $215 billion Administration as a percent of hospital budgets: 25.3%
Administration as a percent of U.S. gross domestic product: 1.43% Annual cost per capita: $667
Cost per capita in:
The Netherlands: $325
England: $225
Canada: $158

Projected reduction in uncompensated care by hospitals in 2014 attributed to the Affordable Care Act: $5.7 billion
Amount that will be realized by the 27 states that expanded Medicaid: $4.2 billion

Average cost per day for a non-ICU telemetry bed: $18,971
Average cost per day for the same bed without telemetry: $5,772 Percent reduction in non-ICU telemetry use if guidelines from the American Heart Association are followed: 70%

Number of elderly people in the U.S. who misused prescription medications in 2001: 911,000
Number projected in 2020: 2.7 million
Percent of elderly women who misuse prescription medications: 11%
Percent of elderly people who misuse both alcohol and prescription medications: 19%
Percent increase between 2004 and 2008 in emergency department visits by elderly people for medication misuse: 121%

Number of health care occupations in the top 10 best-paying jobs in 2014: 7
Surgeons’ average annual salary: $233,150 Rank: 1
General practitioner: $187,200 Rank: 2
Dentist: $146,340 Rank: 5
Pharmacist: $116,440 Rank: 8

1 American Hospital Association. Fast Facts on US Hospitals. Jan. 2, 2014.

2 Steffie Woolhandler. U.S. Hospitals Burdened by High Administrative Costs. Modern Healthcare, Sept. 13, 2014.

3 Robert Pear. Affordable Care Act Reduces Costs for Hospitals, Report Says. New York Times, Sept. 24, 2014.

4 Jeanne Whalen. Hospitals Cut Costs by Getting Doctors to Stick to Guidelines. Wall Street Journal, Sept. 22, 2014.

5 Barbara Sadick. Fears Rise of Medication Misuse by the Elderly. Wall Street Journal, Sept. 14, 2014 .

6 Adam Auriemma. The 10 Best-Paying Jobs of 2014. Wall Street Journal, Aug. 13, 2014.

David A. Frenz, MD, is a hospitalist for HealthEast Care System in St. Paul, Minn., and is board certified in both family and addiction medicine. You can learn more about him and his work at www.davidfrenz.com or via LinkedIn.