Date: Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Session Time: 2:30pm-4:00pm
Presentation Time: 3:06pm-3:18pm
Location: Room 304
Purpose: There is a significant variation in the MELD scores and subsequent morbidity among liver recipients in the US. Larger OPOs consistently serve patients with advanced disease. Previous studies have shown 2.5 times greater prevalence of transplanted patients with MELD 24 in these OPOs. CMS recent reimbursement adjustments may disproportionately affect certain programs given their increased prevalence of patients with more advanced disease.
Methods: We analyzed the prevalence of transplants among patients with high UNET MELD scores and associated charges, costs, and reimbursements. We compared low, medium and high MELD score groups. Between 2014-2015, 43 liver transplants, all with >30 days survival, were analyzed.
Results: Only 2 had MELD scores below 25 at transplant, both of which from live donors. 95% of patients had MELD scores above 25 and among these, 18% had MELD 40 or were Status 1. Compared to the national average, our MELD scores were: 25% 21-30 (National 21.5%, p >0.05), 70.5% 31-40 (National 25.9%, p < 0.001), and 4.5% Status 1 (National 5.9%, p >0.05).
Payer mix of patients with MELD 40/Status 1 was 22% Medicaid, 22% Medicare and 56% commercial plans.
For MELD scores 21-30, hospital charges averaged $645,214 and reimbursements were $150,706. For MELD scores 31-39, charges were $686,720, and reimbursement were $139,776. Reviewing MELD 40/ Status 1 patients, the average hospital charges and reimbursements were $1,136,813 and $293,776 respectively. We compared their amounts to the MELD 40 patients who had hospital charges of $625,371 and reimbursements of $142,051. This demonstrated a loss of $843,037 for the first group and $483,320 for the second. Length of stay was 32 days for MELD 40/ Status 1 and 8 days for MELD 40 (p < 0.000).
Conclusion: 40 MELD patients have a huge financial impact on institutions. The difference between 25-39 and 40 MELD points is greater than half a million dollars. These data reflect and include dialysis, intubation and ICU stay but do not include rehabilitation expenses which will be the focus of another study. We find that our institution, which likely reflects many institutions in our OPO, serves sicker patients and therefore incurs higher costs but receives lower reimbursements, as they are based on national expected care costs for healthier patients. A broader sharing in the US may equalize costs. Payers should take into account the added financial burden of performing transplant in high MELD patients.
CITATION INFORMATION: Bortecen K, Gelb B, Winnick A, Morgan G, Teperman L. What Are the Charges and Costs of Transplanting High MELD Patients? Am J Transplant. 2016;16 (suppl 3).
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Bortecen K, Gelb B, Winnick A, Morgan G, Teperman L. What Are the Charges and Costs of Transplanting High MELD Patients? [abstract]. Am J Transplant. 2016; 16 (suppl 3). https://atcmeetingabstracts.com/abstract/what-are-the-charges-and-costs-of-transplanting-high-meld-patients/. Accessed March 5, 2021.
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