Survey Finds Inpatient Volume Trends Positive

After several quarters of decline, inpatient and emergency department volumes are increasing, and more hospitals than are expecting to participate in outsourcing physician services with an emphasis on hospitalist services, according to a recent survey from investment banking firm Jefferies. Here are five takeaways from the study, which compiled survey data from executives at 50 hospitals across the United States.

1. On average, respondents reported an inpatient volume increase of 0.4 percent for Q2 of 2014. Jefferies reported it expects this trend to hold for the next several quarters and attributes it to expanded coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

2. More than 70 percent of respondents were optimistic inpatient volume would either stay the same or continue to increase in Q3 of 2014. Executives at hospitals with more than 250 beds all indicated expectations for inpatient volume growth.

3. Medicaid expansion is having a significant impact on payer mix in hospitals. Hospitals in expansion states reported higher increases in inpatient volumes than states in which Medicaid has not yet been expanded.

4. Approximately 34 percent of respondents reported increased emergency department admissions, and 68 percent noted increased ED volumes in Q2 of 2014. Medicaid expansion states were nearly two times as likely to report volume increases in the ED.

5. More than half of hospitals with 250 or more beds anticipate outsourcing physician specialties, especially hospitalists, with 72 percent indicating interest in pure-play outsourcing providers, 17 percent indicated a preference for bundled service structure and 11 percent indicating possible interested in bundled service structure.

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