Headache in the Diagnosis-Related Groups (DRG) Era: Management and appropriateness of admission

G. Sances, G. Sandrini, A. Costa, F. Antonaci, A. Citterio, G. Nappi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Headache is an extremely common disorder which has a marked impact on the utilisation of healthcare resources and constitutes a considerable socio-economic burden. The related costs, both direct and indirect, are especially high in developed countries, since headache predominantly affects an economically-active section of the population. The Diagnosis-Related Groups (DRG) system, a method for reimbursing healthcare structures for patient admissions, was introduced in Italy in 1995. The aim of the system was to control public health expenditure and to promote better distribution of financial resources. Here, we report the results of the application of the DRG system to headache patients admitted to the Department of Neurology of the University of Pavia in 1996 and 1998. The financial analysis revealed high fixed costs (hospital running costs per days of hospitalisation); by contrast, the impact of the variable costs (those relating to the direct management of the individual patient, i.e. examinations, therapeutic interventions etc.) was low. It was found that reducing the number of days of hospitalisation increases the hospital's income and reduces the mean loss incurred in each DRG. It is therefore suggested that a complete approach to the management of headache must include educational programmes for patients and general practitioners, and that access to headache centres and to hospital care should be restricted to cases of acute, severe headache, or recurrent, chronic headache with/without drug abuse or dependence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-229
Number of pages6
JournalFunctional Neurology
Issue number3 SUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Appropriateness of admission
  • DRG
  • Headache
  • Management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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