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April 16, 2012 (Cleveland)

Volume Trends Still Point to a Lagging Economy Says Latest Key Indicators Report

The trend of declining volume continued in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the latest Key Indicators Report, which suggests that a still-lagging economy is likely to blame. Total patient discharges were down for the fourth quarter of 2011 compared to the same quarter of 2010. Year-end figures for this indicator also showed a decline. The aftermath of the Great Recession is also a probable contributing factor to a number of other trends, such as an increase in the number of emergency department cases, admissions from the emergency department and growing discharges for psychiatric and chemical dependency patients.

Overall, the total number of outpatient surgical cases for 2011 was  down from 2010. However, the numbers did start to rebound and showed some growth during the fourth quarter of 2011. In fact, the fourth quarter of 2011 was the first in six quarters to show an increase in outpatient surgical cases. This turn-around is more than welcome given that prior to this stretch of volume decline outpatient surgical cases had shown overall growth in volume since 2007. The report suggests that the fledgling economic recovery may be behind this uptick, as those who have put off surgery in order to pay for other necessities, opt to do it now.

The Key Indicators Report provides analysis of the hospital market based on Volume Statistics data. For more information on this report please contact Deanna Moore at 216.255.3614 or deanna.moore@chanet.org.


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