Table 1

Characteristics of the 5% highest cost patients compared with the remaining population receiving VA care in 2010

High-cost patients*
n=261 699
%‡
Remaining population†
n=4 972 295
%‡
Age, mean (SD)63 (13)63 (16)
 <45714
 45–645241
 65+4145
Male sex9593
Race/ethnicity
 White, non-hispanic7072
 Black, non-hispanic2114
 Hispanic65
 Other22
 Unknown28
Marital status
 Single1412
 Married4158
 Separated/divorced/widowed4530
Homeless during year of study142
Insurance status
 None4641
 Major medical/HMO/PPO/champus/indemnity818
 Medicare/Medicare supplement4439
 All other22
Died during year of study112
Multimorbidity
 ≥3 Chronic conditions7726
 ≥5 Chronic conditions417
 ≥3 Body systems affected by conditions6419
 ≥5 Body systems affected by conditions182
Annual healthcare costs, mean (SD), median
 Total72 976 (64 040), 52 8074267 (5252), 2257
 Inpatient care42 179 (58 679), 26 979398 (2167), 0
 Outpatient care19 182 (30 269), 12 6992840 (3433), 1566
 Pharmacy services4525 (13 141), 1738812 (1499), 337
 VA-sponsored contract care7090 (20 490), 0213 (1258), 0
  • *High-cost patients represent the 5% highest cost patients who received inpatient or outpatient care in the VA healthcare system between 1 October 2009 and 30 September 2010. Numbers represent percentages within each category unless otherwise indicated.

  • †p Values for t tests (mean age, costs) and χ2 tests (all other characteristics) were <0.001 for all comparisons between high-cost patients and the remaining population.

  • ‡Unless otherwise specified.

  • HMO, Health Maintenance Organization; PPO, Preferred Provider Organization; VA, Veterans Affairs.