In the background of increasing competition between trauma centers, this study investigated the relative reimbursement of trauma care provided in an urban trauma setting, comparing patients previously unknown (new) to the system, representing potential sources of new revenue, and those who were known (established), having received medical care previously in the same system.
A retrospective review of 440 patients with high-energy fractures at a single level 1 trauma center was conducted. Payment to charge (P/C) ratios for professional and facilities services within 6 months of injury were calculated.
Mean professional charges per patient were $35,522 and $30,639 (P
= 0.11), between new and established patients, respectively, whereas mean professional payments were statistically different, $7,894 and $4,365 (P
< 0.001). Mean differences in P/C for facilities payments for new and established patients were not statistically significant, but professional P/C was higher in new patients (P
< 0.001), consistent with better insured patients.
Insurance companies reimburse for professional or facilities services with statistically different P/C ratios. Treating new patients at our institution likely benefits our institution by offering exposure to a more favorable payer mix and more complex patients.
Level of Evidence:
Retrospective level III