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OBSERVATION STAYS: Medicare use trends

A trend towards increased use of hospital observation services for Medicare patients was found in this study out of Brown University In this large-scale study of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, the utilization rate for observation services was found to be 116.6 observation stay events /1,000 inpatient admissions/ month in 2009.  These patients stayed in observation an average of just over 28 hours in 2009.  Regional variations were found. 

Source: Feng, Z., Wright, B., and Mohr, V.  Sharp rise in Medicare enrollees being held in hospitals for observation raises concerns about causes and consequences.  Health Affairs;31(6):1251-1259, June 2012.  Click here for article on publisher’s website: http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/31/6/1251.abstract  Posted by AHA Resource Center, (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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