8 Reasons Why Hospitals Should Reduce Bed Volume

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , October 6, 2011

7. Yes, aging baby boomers will need acute care. But how much? This generation isn't the type to be content lying around in hospital beds at the rates of prior generations. They will do more research about their conditions and question medical authority more. And they will be better managed outside hospitals.

Last week, a survey in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that 42%of primary care doctors "believe that patients in their own practice are receiving too much care," that is, too many referrals and too many tests, and only 6% said patients are receiving too little. About 28% said they are practicing more aggressively than they would like.

8. As for those 32 million people who lack health coverage. Remember, most of them are barely accessing the healthcare system now. And if they are, it's an inefficient and more expensive service, they're getting at best. And in theory, much of it will be avoided with earlier, more preventive care.

Besides, I don't believe that healthcare reform will prompt them to charge into hospitals to make up for lost time. Coverage should help them stay healthier.

You might argue that hospitals should keep those beds and even expand capacity to be ready in the event of an epidemic or disaster. Good point.

But remember that in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the threat of H1N1, pandemic planners have been busy preparing to adapt schools, theaters, and even cruise ships to handle casualties outside of hospitals. During a crisis, a hospital may not even be the safest place to go. 

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3 comments on "8 Reasons Why Hospitals Should Reduce Bed Volume"

OR MD MBA (10/8/2011 at 9:04 AM)
So lets take a routine patient. Grandma's not acting right, ends up being a mild UTI. Probably could go home by many standards but family is insistent. She was just in 3 wks ago with a generalized weakness/UTI so in reality it's a social admission b/c family can't deal with her right now. So, do I readmit her and get dinged or do I refuse the admission and piss off the family and get low satisfaction scores under HCAHPS. Oh, and while I'm spending all this time explaining why she can't be admitted, the waiting room is backing up increasing my wait times which is a new P4P CMS metric. Or better yet, I cave in and re-admit her and because there's less beds, she is now a hold in my ER. Can't wait for your rose colored healthcare world.

Lewis Allen (10/7/2011 at 9:26 PM)
I've performed laboratory work for a few decades now and believe you've missed the mark regarding hospitals and census counts. Hospitals are already closing beds, rooms and entire wings. Insurance providers have been forcing these closures for years as they decrease reimbursement for hospital services, jack up rates and/or deny coverage to patients, while ensuring they themselves receive 100 cents on the dollar as payment (ala Blue Cross/Blue Shield). Insurance providers have become the "attack dogs" for Socialist government policy, whose goal is to consolidate medical services into few, huge, "Centers of Excellence", where they can pay as little as possible for such "excellence". I assure you that patients are ill-served by having to travel 3 or 4 hours to a "center of excellence" for regular medical care. And let's not forget intense, Lawyer Greed, that has crippled physicians abilities to pay enormous premiums to simply "go to work". Physicians are forced to pass costs along or be forced into retirement. Fewer practicing physicians means worsening and unhealthy outcomes for needy patients.

JRG MD MBA (10/6/2011 at 7:56 PM)
Most of your analysis sounds like either wish fulfillment or you have been smoking something. Have you ever spent as much as a day providing any sort fo medical care?




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