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1 in 5 Hospital Patients Who Leave Against Medical Advice Are Uninsured

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 13, 2013

Incidences of patients leaving the hospital against medical advice rose sharply between 1997 and 2011, particularly among patients financially responsible for their own care.

The number of patients who get up from their hospital beds and walk out the door before their doctors say they're well enough to go, is up 41% between 1997 and 2011.

These figures on patients said to leave AMA or against medical advice, come from a statistical brief from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, a division of the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The brief says the number of AMA patients went from 264,000 in 1997 to 373,000 in 2011, with people between the ages of 45 and 64 accounting for most of the increase, 27% in 1997 to 41% in 2011. However, among patients between the ages of 18 and 44, such ill-advised departures went down, from 56% in 1997 to 44% in 2011.

Anne Elixhauser, the principal author for AHRQ, says that while the survey data doesn't provide insight into why this is happening, one clue may lie in who is paying the bill for patients who leave the hospital AMA, and what has happened to the economy between 1997 and 2011.

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1 comments on "1 in 5 Hospital Patients Who Leave AMA Are Uninsured"


Harvey brownnstein (11/14/2013 at 9:13 AM)
Maybe it is due to them in reality being to healthy to be in a hospital. You can get a better dirt at home and sleep. The medical care is usually concentrated during the earlier part of your stay, many of the reasons you are asked to stay that extra night is so-called "to be observed over night" Unfortunately hospitals do not realize people need to eat and sleep while they are trying to recover from an illness. They say they realize the importance but during my few stays at recognized hospitals I have not seen any evidence that they care about your rest or diet