WFYI Indianapolis

Can hospital observation areas decrease health care spending?

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Air date: January 13, 2013

Host: Kathy Miller, MD

Healthcare Policy & Public Health Patient Care Research
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Interview: Christopher Baugh, M.D., M.B.A, Medical Director, ED Observation Unit, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston.

Christopher Baugh, M.D., MBA, is the medical director of the ED Observation Unit at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Baugh recently conducted a study that concluded observation units could save hospitals $4.6 million a year by avoiding 3,600 unnecessary inpatient admissions. Observation units cut costs by accepting patients after they have been discharged from the emergency room. The observation units consist of eight to 10 beds, each of which can be occupied for up to 24 hours. Currently only one-third of U.S hospitals have observation units.