The impact of alcohol consumption on hospital treatment cost and length of stay for non-alcohol-related diseases : a retrospective cross sectional comparison of patients with alcohol-related co-morbidities and those without alcohol-related co-morbidities
Background: Alcohol is a commodity which contains toxic substances like ethanol and methanol (WHO, 1994). It is a primary cause of negative health effects, and a main risk factor for many other major chronic diseases (Rehm et al., 2009; WHO, 2011b). The health and economic burden attributable to alcohol is enormous thorough the globe (Rehm et al., 2009; Rutherford and McNeill, 2009). The unknown economic losses of alcohol, because of the difficulties in estimation, could be huge and misleading if not estimated with conscious (Baumberg, 2006). The intricateness and multidimensional correlations between alcohol consumption and health problems attributable to alcohol (Rehm et al., 2010) makes such estimations even more obscure.Objective: The objective of this study was to find whether there is higher treatment cost and longer length of hospital stay (LOS) for those with alcohol related co-morbidities than those without these co-morbidities, for the treatments of the pathologically non-alcohol-related diagnoses.Method: Negative binomial regression model and generalized linear regression model were applied to LOS and treatment cost respectively for 8 diagnoses selected from Norwegian patient registry 2008.Results: Patients with alcohol-related diseases had statistically significant higher treatment cost for all 8 diagnoses among males. Four diagnoses of which had longer LOS for females with alcohol-related diagnoses had also higher treatment cost amongst females. The longer LOS for erysipelas (A46), unspecified chest pain (R074), and pain localized to upper abdomen (R101) were found statistically significant for both women and men with alcohol-related diseases. In addition women with alcohol-related diagnoses had statistically significant longer LOS for unspecified asthma (J459) and acute tubule-interstitial nephritis (N10) than other women, whereas men identified as alcohol consumers were found to have longer LOS for volume depletion (E86) and other unspecified convulsion (R568) than other men.Conclusions: Alcohol related diseases co-occur with other diseases; co-morbidity of diseases is associated with increased health care costs; the result of this study implicates that patients with alcohol related diseases had higher treatment cost with longer LOS for the treatment of the non-alcohol related diagnoses. If this is the case it would mean that economic burden of alcohol is underestimated.