Background: Management of necrotizing fasciitis places significant demands upon hospital and medical resources. A successful management usually requires extensive surgical intervention and an adjunct hyperbaric oxygen treatment. The cost impact on the health care system has not been well characterized. We have, therefore, analysed the cost of treating this disease at an Australian tertiary referral hospital with extensive case experience and well-developed financial costing systems and have compared this with the current casemix-based government funding arrangements applying in Victoria, Australia. Methods: Data was extracted from the medical records of 92 sequential patients treated by the Alfred Hospital (Melbourne, Australia) during the four financial years 2000-04. Clinical costing data and government funding data was provided by the hospital's Finance Departments. Results: The total Alfred Hospital in-patient costs for treating the patients was $5 935 545 with a mean cost per patient of $64 517 (range, $1025 to $514 889). The total casemix-based funding allocation derived from treating these patients was calculated at $3 208 664 with the per patient mean $34 887 (range, $1331 to $387 168). This analysis does not include allowance for non-Alfred Hospital costs such as those incurred by the ambulance service, referring hospitals, for rehabilitation or as a result of the burden of residual disability. Conclusions: This study has confirmed that a significant economic burden is involved in treating necrotizing fasciitis. There is a substantial difference between the hospital costs and government funding for treating these patients in the Australian setting.
- Hyperbaric oxygen
- Necrotizing fasciitis