Among other important trends culled from the report are:
- In 2007, Medicare stays amounted to $156 billion and Medicaid stays accounted for $50.4 billion, a total of about 60% of aggregate hospital costs. Discharges billed to private insurance accounted for 31%, or $107.8 billion, while the uninsured accounted for a smaller share, $16.5 billion, or 5%.
- Hospitalizations billed to Medicare and Medicaid accounted for more than 75% of the increase in discharges from 1997 to 2007.
- Average length of stay for hospitalizations billed to Medicare decreased from 6.3 days to 5.6 days, but the average length of stay for care covered by Medicaid, uninsured, and private insurance remained unchanged.
- Chronic conditions were the main reason for 40% of all hospitalizations in 1997 and 37% in 2007.
- The number of hospital discharges increased from 34.7 million in 1997 to 39.5 million in 2007, or a 14% increase.
- The average length of stay in 2007 was 4.6 days, almost 20% shorter than in 1993, when the average stay was 5.7 days.
- The number of patients who left hospital care against medical advice increased by 39%, for a total of 103,000 discharges, the second fastest of any discharge type.
- The number of discharges to nursing homes and long-term care facilities increased by 32% while the number of discharges to home healthcare increased by 55%.
- Blood transfusions occurred in one of every 10 hospital stays that involved a procedure, and there were 1.1 million stays involving a procedure in 1997 and 2.6 million in 2007, a growth of 140%.
- Diagnostic cardiac catheterization was performed on 890,000 males and 582,000 females in 2007, and was the second most frequent procedure in men and the fourth most frequent in women.
- From 1997 to 2007, arthroplasty of the knee operations increased by 86%.
Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.