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Hospitals Discharge Uninsured Patients Sooner

Wednesday, 16 Nov 2011 05:19 PM


Financial considerations appear to play a role in the length of a hospital stay, suggests a new study published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Researchers examined hospital records for about 850,000 adults discharged from hospitals in the U.S. between 2003 and 2007. They found that uninsured patients’ hospital stays were slightly shorter – 2.8 days versus 2.9 days
(insured) and 3.2 days (those with Medicaid).

Although just a small difference, it’s still meaningful, says lead author Arch G. Mainous III, of the University of South Carolina.

Common sense indicates that uninsured patients would be in worse shape upon hospital arrival, being less likely to have had routine health care to manage chronic health issues. “So why would they have a shorter hospital stay?” asked Mainous.

It could be that uninsured patients are being discharged prematurely, Mainous said. But it may also be that insured patients are being kept longer because their payment is covered.

An estimated 50 million Americans were uninsured last year.


© HealthDay

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