Average Inpatient Hospital Stay Shorter but More Expensive in 2009 Than 1997

In 2009, the average inpatient hospital stay was slightly shorter (by 0.3 days) but more expensive (by $2,600) compared to the average stay in 1997, according to recent statistics from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project.

HCUP's most recent statistical brief includes updated data on inpatient hospital stays, including associated costs. Notable statistics from HCUP's brief include the following:

•    In 2009, there were 39.4 million inpatient stays in U.S. community hospitals (128.4 stays per 1,000 population), which cost $361.5 billion.
•    The average stay lasted 4.6 days and cost $9,200 ($2,000 per day), which is slightly shorter and more expensive than the average inpatient stay in 1997 (4.9 days; $6,600 per stay; $1,400 per day).
•    Stays for elderly patients cost a total of $153.9 billion in 2009.
•    Stays for non-elderly patients cost a total of $207.6 billion in 2009.
•    Growth in aggregate cost of stays for the non-elderly was driven largely by growth in the cost per day or in the intensity of services provided. Growth in the population accounted for much of the remainder of the growth in aggregate costs.
•    Growth in the aggregate cost of stays for the elderly was also driven by growth in the cost per day. However, that growth was slowed due to a decline in the average length of stay for elderly patients as well as a decrease in the number of stays per population.
•    The top three most common conditions with the most rapidly growing aggregate costs were septicemia, spondylosis and other back problems and osteoarthritis.

Related Articles on Hospital Costs:

Brigham and Women's in Boston Unveils Plans to Expand, Cut Costs

CMS Final Rule Allows Use of Medicare Claims to Assess Providers' Performance

Study: Physician Choice of Cardiac Imaging Test vs. Mandated CMR Can Save More Than $300

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