The economic burden of treating neonates in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) in Greece
Background: In a period when a public-private mix in Greece is under consideration and hospital budgets become restrained, economic assessment is important for rational decision making. The study aimed to estimate the hospitalization cost of neonates admitted to the ICUs and demonstrate discrepancies with reimbursement. Methods: Chosen methodology was based on the selection of medical records of all NICUs and intermediate care admissions within February to April 2004. Neonates (n = 99) were classified according to birthweight and gestational age. Results: Mean cost per infant was estimated at €5.485 while reimbursement from social funds arises to €3.952. Costs per birthweight or gestational age show an inverse relationship. Personnel costs accounted for 59.9%, followed by enteral/parenteral feeding (16.14%) and pharmaceuticals expenses (11.10%) of all resources consumed. Sensitivity analysis increases the robustness of the results. Conclusion: Neonatal intensive care in Greece is associated with significant costs that exceed reimbursement from social funds. Reimbursement should be adjusted to make neonatal intensive care economically viable to private hospitals and thus, increase capacity of the services provided. copy; 2007 Geitona et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.