Treatment costs of community-acquired pneumonia in an employed population

Chest. 2004 Jun;125(6):2140-5. doi: 10.1378/chest.125.6.2140.


Background: Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a serious clinical problem, causing hospitalization in about 20% of cases and death in up to 16% of hospitalized patients. Work-loss cost estimates indicate that the treatment of CAP also has a large economic impact. The purpose of this study was to assess the medical and prescription drug (treatment) costs of managing CAP in an employed population.

Method: The costs of CAP were determined from an administrative claims database covering the years 1996 to 1998 for an employed population and their dependents [65 years of age (100,000 population)]. Treatment costs for managing both inpatient and outpatient cases of CAP were calculated from payments by the health plan.

Results: A total of 7,249 episodes of CAP among 6,415 individuals were identified. The hospitalization rate was 19.6%, and the mortality rate for those hospitalized was 9.1%. Patients requiring hospitalization were older and had more comorbid conditions. The mean (+/- SD) treatment cost for an inpatient episode of CAP (including all inpatient and outpatient medical care) was $10,227 +/- 15,342. The costs for inpatients who died during hospitalization (mean cost, $15,822 +/- 26,541) were higher than for episodes in which patients were discharged from the hospital alive (mean cost, $9,595 +/- 13,641). The mean treatment cost for an outpatient episode of CAP was $466 +/- 1,038.

Conclusions: The treatment cost of managing CAP in this employed population was higher than previously estimated. It is estimated that the annual cost of treating CAP in the United States is $12.2 billion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Community-Acquired Infections / diagnosis
  • Community-Acquired Infections / economics*
  • Community-Acquired Infections / mortality
  • Community-Acquired Infections / therapy
  • Employer Health Costs*
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Hospital Costs
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia / economics*
  • Pneumonia / mortality
  • Pneumonia / therapy
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • United States