【Aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan】No.146: Inpatient expense per capita is larger for areas with more hospital beds

In this column series, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Research Director at CIGS introduces the latest information about aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan with data of international comparison.

In Column No. 3, I pointed out that Japan has overinvested in its medical care delivery system. Available data show evidence that this overinvestment is generating superfluous medical care services.

In Figure 1, the horizontal axis is the number of hospital beds per one thousand people and the vertical axis is inpatient expense per capita. Figure 1 shows the data of 47 prefectures. In a prefecture where the proportion of elderly people is larger than that of other prefectures, the inpatient expense per capita is also larger, as the elderly consume more inpatient services. Therefore, the inpatient expense per capita in Figure 1 is calculated by excluding the age factor (see Column No. 10).

The number of beds per thousand people in the Kochi prefecture is 25.3 beds, more than three times that in the Kanagawa prefecture (8.1 beds). As a result, the inpatient expense per capita in the Kochi prefecture is 387,057 yen, twice that of the Kanagawa prefecture (197,951 yen).

Figure 1: Correlation between the number of beds and inpatient expense per capita

Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

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