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

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 13, 2013

Finding on Costs, Hospitalizations
The HCUP statistical brief also highlighted findings on hospital costs and rates of hospitalization.

Inflation-adjusted aggregate hospital costs increased 63% between 1997 and 2011, to $387.3 billion. Costs per stay increased 47% to an average of $10,000. The charge per stay, or the amount hospitals billed for tests, nursing, procedures and other inpatient services, more than doubled to $35,400, which was adjusted for inflation, since 1997.

The rate of hospitalization for the U.S. population remained the same, at about 1,200 stays per 10,000 population, or 38.6 million hospital stays in 2011, although because population increased, the actual number of stays increased by 11%.

While the rate of stays-per-population was relatively similar in the Northeast, Midwest and South (between 1,276 and 1,354 stays per 10,000 population) it was much lower in the West, with 1,029 stays per 10,000 population.

  • 60% of all hospital stays were billed to Medicare and Medicaid, up from 52% in 1997
  • Stays billed to private insurance dropped from 39% to 32%
  • Patients living in areas with the lowest income levels had higher hospitalization rates

These statistics are obtained from the 2011 Nationwide Inpatient Sample of non-federal, short-term general hospitals, excluding long-term rehabilitation, psychiatric, and chemical dependency facilities.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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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