Impact of an Indigent Care Program on Use of Resources: Experiences at One Hospital

Pharmacotherapy. 2000 Feb;20(2):217-20. doi: 10.1592/phco.


Thirty-six indigent patients hospitalized within 6 months of study initiation and who met criteria were enrolled in a 6-month assistance program to determine if provision of both medical care and prescription drugs at no cost would be associated with a change in overall health care charges secondary to a change in therapy adherence. A historical control group was identified. Charges for drugs and medical care, and the number of hospitalizations and emergency room visits were evaluated for comparison with the pretreatment period. Adherence to drug regimens was measured using the Med-Out indicator. Inpatient admissions decreased by 39.5% (from 43 to 26) and outpatient visits decreased by 64.4% (from 194 to 69). This amounted to a cost avoidance to the hospital of $378,183. The cost of drugs during the study was $27,588. Patients who adhered to therapeutic regimens provided an even greater cost avoidance.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Diagnosis-Related Groups
  • Drug Costs
  • Economics, Hospital*
  • Health Resources / economics*
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Hospitals, Voluntary
  • Humans
  • Uncompensated Care / economics*