Minnesota hospitals lose $487M to discharge delays: Report

Unnecessary, unpaid hospital stays have brought Minnesota hospitals to a "critical point," according to Rahul Koranne, MD. 

Dr. Koranne, president and CEO of the Minnesota Hospital Association, discussed the state's discharge delay dilemma — which cost hospitals and health systems approximately $487 million in 2023 — in a news release shared with Becker's

A previous data collection by the state's human services department found more than 76,245 days of unnecessary hospital care in the first five months of 2023. The hospital association conducted a new survey of 101 hospitals, finding 65,555 additional days of unpaid care between June and October. 

The sum: an annual total of nearly 195,000 days of unnecessary and unpaid care per year, costing the state's healthcare facilities nearly half a billion dollars. 

The financial impact has been dire, according to Dr. Koranne. In the first half of 2023, 67% of Minnesota hospitals reported operating losses. In January, the state has already held three hearings on hospital service closures — half of the total for all of last year. 

Most of the delays are caused when patients are boarding in inpatient units, waiting for transfers to nursing homes, rehab units, mental health treatment facilities and other sub-acute facilities. The association's survey recorded 9,223 days of unnecessary emergency department stays, causing care delays for critical patients. 

"Minnesota hospitals have gone from being a safety net, to being a catch-all for patient care," Dr. Koranne said. "This is a function they were never intended for, can't afford, and isn't good for patients. This gridlock is preventing Minnesotans from getting care that their lives depend on. Policymakers must act."

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