New report reveals rising cost of in-patient rehab

Latest News

A new report from Medibank has revealed in-patient overnight rehabilitation is now the most common reason for an overnight hospital admission.

The ‘Health Cost & Utilisation Report’ shows rehabilitation admissions have grown by more than 20 percent since 2013. They have overtaken childbirth as the most common reason for an overnight hospital admission.

The report also found same-day hospital rehabilitation admissions have increased by 40 percent since 2013.

Medibank said the average benefit paid in 2017 for overnight rehabilitation admission was $10,250. This represents an increase of around $1,000 over the past five years.

In 2017, New South Wales recorded the most admissions for rehabilitation - same day and overnight - followed by Victoria and Queensland.

A separate report from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) and Medibank shows Australian public and private hospitals refer patients to in-hospital rehabilitation at varying rates – ranging from three to over 60 percent.

In comparison, in Canada, the US and UK, rates for in-hospital rehabilitation rates are between 10 and 20 percent, said Medibank in a statement.

The report also confirms home-based rehabilitation has similar outcomes when compared to in-hospital rehabilitation, in terms of functional improvements, health scores, quality of life, patient satisfaction and adverse events.

Medibank said it now offers eligible customers greater choice post-surgery with rehabilitation at home.  

Medibank Group executive healthcare and strategy, Dr Andrew Wilson, said home-based rehabilitation delivers roughly equivalent health outcomes at a quarter of the price and greater choice for customers.

“The rise in hospital-based rehabilitation, both overnight and same day, is a sign of Australia’s growing health needs,” said Dr Wilson.

“Our needs are changing rapidly.  The population is getting older, and the chronic conditions requiring surgery and rehabilitation is also increasing.

“Medibank at Home complements the traditional approach to healthcare.  Where it’s clinically appropriate, our customers now have access to rehabilitation as well as trials for chemotherapy, palliative and haemodialysis in the home.  Medibank believes customers should have the choice of where they receive care,” added Dr Wilson.