March 12, 2014

Inpatient Admissions Continue to Decline

We have posted information in the past, statistics, etc. about the cost of inpatient hospitalization versus outpatient, and the importance of an educated workforce who can better make decisions about what care they really need, when and where.  However, in the February 24, 2014 issue of Modern Healthcare there is an article entitled, “Hospitals plan for lasting declines in admissions.”  It has become very clear over a long period of time that much of healthcare that was provided on an inpatient basis in the past (10-20 years ago) is now being provided on an outpatient basis – substantially with at least the same quality of outcomes (or better), at a lower cost.  Per this article, some large hospital systems are reporting declines in admission rates as high as 5% in 2013.  The article attributes some of this to high deductible health plans, higher out-of-pocket costs for things like copayments and coinsurance, and a drop in elective admissions (in addition to changes in Medicare payment rules, etc.).

We hope (and predict) that this trend will continue, resulting in millions of dollars of savings to the system overall – as long as we don’t push the envelope too far, forcing patients to avoid needed care.  Education for employees who are now making more decisions about their healthcare than ever based on cost will be much needed to assure that this is a positive trend long term and overall.

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