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Original article

Vol. 141 No. 2930 (2011)

Quality of care delivered by fee-for-service and DRG hospitals in Switzerland in patients with community-acquired pneumonia

  • WC Albrich
  • I Suter
  • BL Hug
  • R Schoenenberger
  • B Mueller
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2011;141:w13228


PRINCIPLES:Reimbursement for inpatient treatment in Switzerland is in transition. While hospitals in some cantons already use Diagnosis Related Groups (DRG) based systems for hospital financing, others use fee-for-service (FFS) based systems, a situation that provides the opportunity to perform a head-to-head comparison between the two reimbursement systems. The aim of this analysis was to compare reimbursement systems with regard to length of hospital stay (LOS) and patient outcomes in a cohort of community-acquired pneumonia patients from a previous prospective multicentre study in Switzerland.

METHODS:This is a post-hoc analysis of 925 patients with community-acquired pneumonia from a previous randomised-controlled trial. We calculated multivariate regression models adjusted for age, gender, comorbidities and severity of illness (using the Pneumonia Severity Index) and accounting for clustering within hospitals to compare LOS and outcomes between FFS (n = 4) or DRG hospitals (n = 2).

RESULTS:LOS in DRG hospitals was significantly shorter compared to FFS hospitals (8.4 vs 10.3 days, absolute difference 1.9 days [95%CI 0.8–3.1]). This was confirmed in multivariate adjusted Cox models (hazard ratio 1.2 [95% 1.1–1.3]). There were no differences in 30-day and 18-month mortality rates (adjusted odds ratio 1.7 [95% 0.9–3.2] and 1.3 [95% 0.9–1.9]) or recurrence rates within 30 days (adjusted odds ratio 0.8 [95% 0.4–1.7]). Also, no differences were found in the rate of still ongoing clinical symptoms at 30 days, satisfaction with the discharge process and quality of life measures at 30 days of follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS:This study focusing on community-acquired pneumonia patients with different severities found a 20% shorter LOS in hospitals with DRG financing compared to FFS hospitals without apparent harmful effects on patient outcomes, satisfaction with care and different quality of life measures. Further studies are required to validate these findings for other medical and surgical patient populations.


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