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Average Cost of a Pediatric Hospital Stay

The average cost of a pediatric hospital stay in 2016 was about $7,800. This was for ages 0 to 20 years old. Newborn births averaged $5,000. A mental illness stay was about $5,900 and a teen mother’s stay was $4,600. A complicated birth averaged $7,800, but major newborn problems could easily run the cost to $70,000. These numbers are estimated costs; charges would be higher. The report does not disclose the cost-to-charge ratios. Add about 13% medical inflation to estimate 2021 costs. Other types of hospitalizations are also listed. Statistical Brief #250 Costs of Pediatric Hospital Stays, 2016, was published by AHRQ’s HCUP (Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project), August 2019.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Hospitalization Costs

Find hospitalization costs for mental health and substance abuse stays in Statistical Brief #249. A mental health or substance abuse hospital inpatient stay in 2016 had an estimated cost of $7,100. In 2021 dollars, that is more than $8,000, due to 13% medical inflation. The charges would have been higher. Depression was the most common principal diagnosis, costing $5,300 (6 days stay) on average.  Alcohol-related disorders cost about $8,800 (5 days stay), schizophrenia & related disorders cost $8,900 with nearly 11 days in hospital; bipolar cost $6,500, with 7.6 average length of stay, and opioid-related disorders cost $6,400 (4.2 days stay). Suicide ideation or attempt cost $7,900, with an average of 3.5 days in hospital. All costs must be inflated to approximate current prices. Schizophrenia was the most common type of mental and/or substance use disorder hospital stay for males ages 18 to 44, in 2016. Published by AHRQ, March 2019.

A more recent report (Statistical Brief # 257) shows average cost of an ER visit for mental health and substance abuse disorders was $520 in 2017. By adding medical inflation, the cost would be $573 in 2021 dollars. Charges would be higher. Published in 2020.

An older report Statistical Brief 202 (teenagers) gives information about teen hospitalizations for mental health and substance abuse problems in 2012. Average length of stay for mental health alone was 6.8 days for teens. Estimated true cost, in 2012 dollars, for a mental health stay was $9,100 (teens) (nearly $11,500 in 2021 dollars). Consumers may be surprised to learn that, after pregnancy and childbirth, the next most common reason for teens to be hospitalized was Mental Disorders.

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