'Millions of dollars'
Daniel Steingart, an assistant vice president at Moody's who worked on the analysis of the rule, said in an interview that the financial impact on hospitals will vary from facility to facility, but an overall negative effect is expected on bottom lines. "Right now, we're just starting to see it happen," he said. "It's in the millions of dollars for institutions, for sure."
The Moody's sector comment singles out small community hospitals as facing the greatest financial risk from the two-midnight rule because they have a relatively high percentage of short-stay patients and less administrative resources to adapt to the new rule's reporting requirements. "I don't expect this rule to put anybody out of business, but it is yet another challenge," Steingart said, adding many small community hospitals will "absolutely" face credit rating pressure as a result of the new rule.
The administrative costs of implementing the two-midnights rule are mainly linked to documenting patient records to ensure length of stays are properly categorized as outpatient or inpatient.