AIDS Triggers Great Losses for Hospitals Caring for Afflicted Patients, New York Times Reports
In a continuation of its series "AIDS at 20," the New York Times today examines how hospital care for HIV/AIDS patients has changed over the last two decades and how the disease has caused heavy financial losses for many institutions. In the early 1980s, AIDS patients, predominantly "young, white homosexual men whose insurance paid for almost every test and medical service," were a lucrative source of revenue for hospitals, and many facilities "rushed to assemble AIDS units." However, with the disease now striking a considerable number of low-income, uninsured individuals and with the growing influence of cost-cutting managed care and life-extending antiretroviral therapies, AIDS has become a significant financial burden on all hospitals. In New York hospitals, the average inpatient length of stay for HIV/AIDS patients has fallen from 23.4 days in 1983 to 9.6 days in 1999, and throughout the country most patients are now treated on an outpatient basis. Hospitals in some urban areas with high rates of HIV infection must also fight the stigma of being known as an "AIDS hospital." To read the complete story, click here (Freudenheim, New York Times, 6/7). To access the Times' index of AIDS stories, enter http://www.nytimes.com/aids into your Web browser.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.