Prospective payments in a regional trauma center: The case for recognition of the transfer patient in diagnostic related groups

Jason A. London, Matthew R. Rosengart, Gregory Jurkovich, Avery B. Nathens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Background: Transfer patients (TP) differ from patients transported directly from the field (DP) by virtue of their complexity and delays to definitive care, factors that might impact on costs and resource utilization and aggravate the adverse selection that already threatens TC reimbursement. Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study where patients admitted to a Level I trauma center were classified as a TP or DP. Crude and adjusted total costs, complications, length of stay, and proportion of DRG outliers were compared across the two cohorts. Results: Among 8,665 patients, 40% were transferred. TP were more likely to be DRG outliers (15% versus 10%, p < 0.001). Costs in 65% of the DRGs were higher in the TP. Rates of complications and length of stay were significantly greater in the TP. Conclusion: There are systematic differences in resource consumption between transferred patients and patients transported directly from the field. These differences render conventional DRG-based mechanisms of reimbursement inadequate, suggesting a need for recognition of the transfer patient as a distinct entity by payers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-395
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006
Externally publishedYes



  • Cost and cost analysis
  • Diagnosis related groups
  • dvg
  • Health care costs
  • Outliers
  • Prospective payment system
  • Retrospective studies
  • Trauma centers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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