The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2005 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

INPATIENT USE OF BRONCHODILATOR NEBULIZER TREATMENTS WITH LEVALBUTEROL AND ALBUTEROL: A COST-EFFECTIVENESS ANALYSIS.

Vickie Ganey, MBA, RRT, RPFT, RN, LNC Manager Cardiopulmonary Services, Halifax Regional Hospital, South Boston, VA

Background: Studies show that patients administrated Levalbuterol required fewer total nebulizer treatments than patients administered Racemic Albuterol. This study was conducted to determine if the use of Levalbuterol in the patient setting would reduce the cost of hospital stay resulting in a more efficient use of available reimbursement dollars. .

Method:
A 13-month retrospective study of inpatients' receiving Levalbuterol via nebulizer was compared to the projected number of nebulizer treatments which would have been given if patients had been treated with Racemic Albuterol. (Our hospital uses Levalbuterol for all patients receiving nebulized bronchodilator treatments.) Levalbuterol was given Q8 hrs, Q6 hrs, Q4 hrs and PRN. Historical data shows that our normal protocol for Racemic Albuterol was to give it Q3 hrs and PRN. The total number of patients treated with nebulizer treatments during this period was 2,622. During these 13 months, the 2,622 patients received 8,861 Levalbuterol treatments. The projected number of Racemic Albuterol treatments for the 2,622 patients would have been 20,976 (not counting any PRN treatments). This was a decrease of 12,115 treatments by using Levalbuterol instead of Racemic Albuterol.

Results:
In this study the use of Levalbuterol reduced the number of treatments administered per visit to inpatients by more than 50%, thereby reducing the total cost of the patient stay. This results in better reimbursement by DRG or Per Diem per stay for the hospital. Also, the number of patients treated per therapist doubled due to the 50% reduction in the number of treatments required per patient. This increase in productivity of the staff members helped to cut the use of overtime and extra staffing, thereby improving department profitability and reducing labor cost.

Conclusion:
The use of Levalbuterol reduced the number of treatments given per hospitalization, compared with historical use of Racemic Albuterol, which reduced the total cost of the patient stay. Also, the use of Levalbuterol increased staff productivity, reduced overtime and helped cut labor costs. Using Levalbuterol is cost effective for the hospital.

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