In-hospital stays fall far since 1970

Saturday, May 31, 2003

ATLANTA — The average length of a hospital stay for Americans aged 65 and older has fallen from 12.6 days in 1970 to 5.8 days in 2001, according to a new report issued by the CDC April 9.

The “2001 National Hospital Discharge Survey” attributes the reduction to a number of factors:

- the shift from a Medicare cost-based to a prospective payment system for hospitals in the early 1980s;

- greater development and coverage of post-acute care alternatives to hospitalization;

- the growth in utilization review programs;

- increased enrollment in managed care plans;

Of the 12.5 million American seniors discharged from the hospital in 2001, heart disease was listed as the first diagnoses on nearly three million patients. Congestive heart failure accounted for about 765,000 discharges. Pneumonia accounted for about 759,000 discharges. HME