According to an article from Revcycle Intelligence, the cost of caring for patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) is more than $95 billion per year. This accounts for almost 8 percent of all hospital spending. The data used was from PINC AI Applied Sciences (PAS). PAS data scientists analyzed emergency department (ED) outpatient visits and inpatient admissions that occurred between 2017 and 2022. About 66 million ED outpatient visits and 760,000 inpatient admissions were associated with OUD each year. The data also revealed that most of the patients with an OUD diagnosis were from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Given that Medicaid reimbursements are typically lower than those of other insurers, much of the costs associated with OUD visits fall to the hospitals. These findings emphasize the importance of evidence-based prevention, harm reduction, and treatment. Substance use disorders (SUDs) are chronic but treatable diseases. Yet, SUDs are often treated as acute conditions when patients end up in hospitals and emergency departments for short-term care.

The Center for U.S. Policy advocates for all hospitals and emergency departments to implement warm handoff policies to ensure providers screen patients for SUDs, conduct timely brief interventions, and, when appropriate, connect patients with SUD treatment providers prior to discharge. Ensuring patients have access to high-quality, cost-effective SUD treatment can help save lives while also reducing the significant financial burden taken on by hospitals.

Read the full article here.