A new brief from the American Hospital Association finds patients requiring additional care after a hospitalization — such as skilled nursing, behavioral health or therapy-at-home — face growing delays in accessing that care due to delays in discharges. The brief – Patients and Providers Faced with Increasing Delays in Timely Discharges – used data from Strata Decision Technology which show that the average length-of-stay (ALOS) in hospitals has increased 19.2% across the board for patients in 2022 as compared to 2019 levels. The increase is more pronounced for patients being discharged to post-acute care providers — with an increase in ALOS of nearly 24% from 2019 to 2022. This remains true even after accounting for patients being sicker and requiring more complex and intensive care now as compared to pre-pandemic levels, as measured by the casemix index (CMI).
Additionally, CMI-adjusted ALOS has increased for patients being discharged from acute care hospitals to post-acute care providers, with a 12.6% increase for patients being discharged to home health agencies and a 20.2% increase for patients being discharged to skilled-nursing facilities (SNFs). Similarly, patients being discharged from acute care hospitals to other hospital settings have also seen increases, with a 28.9% increase for discharges to psychiatric hospitals.
- Issue Brief: Patients and Providers Faced with Increasing Delays in Timely Discharges. American Hospital Association. December 2022.