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Costs for Hospital Stays in the United States, 2011

“Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) provides an annual overview of national statistics on inpatient hospital stays, including their associated costs, using data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. Costs for Hospital Stays in the United States, 2011, is a statistical brief that provides the most current data on costs for stays in community hospitals in the United States using data from 2011 and compares the results to data from 1997.


  • In 2011, the aggregate cost for all hospital stays was $387.3 billion—a mean of $10,000 per stay.
  • Together, adults aged 45-64 years and 65-84 years accounted for nearly two-thirds of aggregate hospital costs and had the highest mean costs per stay in 2011 ($12,500 and $12,600, respectively).
  • Stays billed to Medicare and Medicaid together accounted for 63 percent of aggregate hospital costs in 2011.
  • Circulatory conditions accounted for the largest share (18 percent) of hospital costs in 2011.
  • Stays with septicemia had the highest aggregate hospital costs in 2011 ($20.3 billion), which more than quadrupled since 1997 with an 11.5 percent annual increase.
  • The aggregate cost for stays with acute and unspecified renal failure increased in rank from 54th in 1997 to 20th in 2011, as costs for stays with renal failure more than quadrupled since 1997.
  • Aggregate inflation-adjusted costs for hospital stays increased 3.6 percent annually between 1997 and 2011, with 2.8 percent annual growth in the intensity of services (cost per stay) and 1.0 percent annual growth in the population.”

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