Hospital Costs of Foreign Non-Resident Patients: A Comparative Analysis in Catalonia, Spain

Although patient mobility has increased over the world, in Europe there is a lack of empirical studies. The aim of the study was to compare foreign non-resident patients versus domestic patients for the particular Catalan case, focusing on patient characteristics, hospitalisation costs and differences in costs depending on the typology of the hospital they are treated. We used data from the 2012 Minimum Basic Data Set-Acute Care hospitals (CMBD-HA) in Catalonia. We matched two case-control groups: first, foreign non-resident patients versus domestic patients and, second, foreign non-resident patients treated by Regional Public Hospitals versus other type of hospitals. Hospitalisation costs were modelled using a GLM Gamma with a log-link. Our results show that foreign non-resident patients were significantly less costly than domestic patients (12% cheaper). Our findings also suggested differences in the characteristics of foreign non-resident patients using Regional Public Hospitals or other kinds of hospitals although we did not observe significant differences in the healthcare costs. Nevertheless, women, 15–24 and 35–44 years old patients and the days of stay were less costly in Regional Public Hospitals. In general, acute hospitalizations of foreign non-resident patients while they are on holiday cost substantially less than domestic patients. The typology of hospital is not found to be a relevant factor influencing costs ​
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