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January 27, 2017 (Cleveland)

Report Examines Impact of Opiate Crisis on Hospital Volumes

Key Indicators LoginHospital volumes are on the rise in light of the opiate crisis in Northeast Ohio, according to a recently published Key Indicators Report on hospital market trends by The Center for Health Affairs. As hospitals continue to adjust to the rising number of patients coming through their doors with substance abuse disorder, they are coping with how to provide treatment and avoid potential overdoses. As the report notes, one impact of the influx in volume is the increase in the number of patients held in observation status, which rose by 4.68 percent during the third quarter of 2016.

The opiate crisis has also played a major role in the rise of inpatient volume. According to hospitals, when a psychiatric or chemically dependent patient arrives at their facility and isn’t admitted, they often remain in observation. However, patients needing more intensive treatment are ultimately admitted and, as the report highlights, often have longer stays than in past years. During the third quarter of 2016, the average length of stay (ALOS) for psychiatric and chemically dependent patients was 6.68 days – 6.59 percent higher than the same quarter in 2015. Many equate this trend with the expansion of Medicaid, since the program now covers behavioral health services. In fact, as noted by the HHS Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, expansion resulted in an 18.3 percent reduction in unmet need for substance use and disorder treatment services nationally.

Other trends during the third quarter of 2016 included an increase in outpatient surgeries by 4.98 percent and a decrease in total patient days by 3.54 percent.

The Key Indicators Report provides analysis based on data collected from its Volume Statistics Program. For more information on the impact of the opiate crisis in the region on hospital volumes, please contact Tony Gutowski at 216.255.3610 or via email.


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