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Du J.,Capital Medical University | Du J.,Beijing Tuberculosis and Thoracic Tumor Research Institute | Du J.,Clinical Center on Tuberculosis Control | Emilio D.,McGill University | And 16 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Background: China is transitioning towards concentrating tuberculosis (TB) diagnostic and treatment services in hospitals, while the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) system will retain important public health functions. Patient expenditure incurred through hospitalization may lead to barriers to TB care or interruption of treatment. Methodology/Principal Findings: We conducted a national survey of TB specialized hospitals to determine hospitalization fees and hospital bed utilization in 1999, 2004, and 2009. Hospitalization of TB patients increased 185.3% from 1999 to 2009. While the average hospitalization fees also increased, the proportion of those fees in relation to GDP per capita decreased. Hospitalization fees differed across the three regions (eastern, central, and western). Using a least standard difference (LSD) paired analysis, in 2004, the difference in hospitalization fees was significant when comparing eastern and central provinces (p<0.001) as well as to western provinces (p<0.001). In 2009, the difference remained statistically significant when comparing eastern province hospitalization fees with central provinces (p<0.001) and western provinces (p = 0.008). In 2004 and 2009, the cost associated with hospitalization as a proportion of GDP per capita was highest in the western region. The average in-patient stay decreased from 33 days in 1999 to 26 and 27 days in 2004 and 2009 respectively. Finally, hospital bed utilization in all three regions increased over this period. Conclusions/Significance: Our findings show that both the total number of in-patients and hospitalization fees increased from 1999 to 2009, though the proportion of hospitalization fees to GDP per capita decreased. As diagnostic services move to hospitals, regulatory and monitoring mechanisms should be established, and hospitals should make use of the experience garnered by the CDC system through continued strong collaborations. Infrastructure and social protection mechanisms in high burden areas, such as in the western region, should be strengthened. © 2015 Du et al.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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