November Hospital Admissions Slump to Weakest Point in More Than 10 Years

Only 5 percent of hospitals reported year-over-year growth in their overall admissions in November — their weakest level in more than 10 years, according to an analysis from Citi Research.

The 5 percent finding, based on a survey with 98 hospital CFOs in 21 states, is a sharp decline from the 22 percent of hospitals that reported year-over-year growth in overall admissions in October and 37 percent in September. November was the lowest dip recorded for hospital overall admissions in the 11 years since Citi began the survey.

"We suspect the new [two-midnight] rule is having a material adverse impact on inpatient admissions and revenues," Citi authors wrote. They also cited rollout of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, physician employment and changing payment models as factors.

The authors said weak PPACA rollout and fourth-quarter shortfalls "offer no reason to own hospital stocks in the near-term," and only the possible extension of an open enrollment period for the health insurance exchanges could offer near-term upside.

Looking ahead at the next 12 months, Citi researchers said only accelerated enrollment of the uninsured provides the opportunity for positive investment returns on hospital stocks. But even that may be postponed.

"We remain optimistic that uninsured 'frequent fliers' will enroll but increasingly see this benefit accruing to 2015 vs. 2014 because [] still appears to [need] significant functional repairs."

More Articles on Hospital Admissions:

CMS Issues Additional Guidance on Two-Midnight Hospital Admissions Rule
The Two-Midnight Rule: What Hospitals and Health Systems Need to Know About Compliance
10 Statistics on Hospital Admissions From the ED

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