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4 Strategies to Optimize Hospital Bed Allocations

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, May 17, 2012

A press release from the University of Maryland touts the findings of remarkable two studies: "Revenue-driven" surgery and poor planning apparently send some surgery patients home from the hospital prematurely.

Wow. Money was identified as an overriding driver of surgery discharges, and not what's in the best interest of patients' health?

I talked to Bruce Golden, PhD, a professor in management science at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, about the two logistical studies he conducted. "Revenue-driven?" Pretty harsh, isn't it?

"Originally, I said 'incentive-driven,'" Golden told HealthLeaders Media, suggesting his comments were revised in the editing process. "Every incentive is aligned with performing," he says. "Economics and system-wide pressures dictate when surgery is done."

Whatever the word choice, one thing can be extrapolated from Golden's findings related to the studies of one large, unnamed hospital: Economics dictate how quickly some patients are released, if bed capacity is an issue.

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