They found that between 2001 and 2008, it typically cost U.S. hospitals $14,100 (in 2008 dollars) to care for a tPA patient who had a "good outcome." If the patient suffered serious complications from the stroke or died, the typical cost was around $19,000.
But the average Medicare payment for patients with a good outcome was $10,000, and just over $13,800 for patients who had disabling strokes.
In an earlier study, the same researchers had found that hospitals generally lose money on Medicare reimbursements for another stroke treatment - endovascular embolectomy, in which doctors go in and extract the blood clot causing the stroke.
... But over the long term, some hospitals might decide they don't want to invest in being stroke treatment centers.
"It could affect availability (of tPA) if some hospitals lose interest in treating a disease they are losing money on," Cloft said.