Objectives: To describe health-care spending and utilization for infants discharged from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Study design: Retrospective cohort analysis of 4973 NICU graduates in the Truven MarketScan Medicaid database, with follow-up to the third birthday. Health-care spending and utilization after NICU discharge were assessed. Using logistic regression, we assessed clinical characteristics associated with hospitalization and emergency department (ED) visits.
Results: Most (69.5%) post-NICU spending occurred within the first year [$33,276 per member per year]. Inpatient care accounted for most (71.6%) of the 3-year spending. The percentages of infants with a 1-year readmission or ED visit were 36.8% and 63.7%, respectively. Medical technology was associated with the highest likelihoods of hospital [aOR 17.8 (95%CI 12.2-26.0)] and ED use [aOR 2.3 (95%CI 1.8-3.0)].
Conclusions: Hospital care accounts for the majority of spending for NICU graduates. Infants with medical technology have the highest risk of hospital and ED use.