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BENCHMARKS: Five year trends for days in patient accounts receivable data for U.S. hospitals

TAKEAWAY: The median value for the accounting metric “Days in Patient Accounts Receivable” for all U.S. hospitals has increased from 2010 to 2014.


“This ratio provides a measure of the average time that receivables are outstanding, or average collection period.  High values for this ratio imply longer collection periods and thus a need for the hospital to finance its investment in accounts receivable.” (p. 74).

This source provides data from two different databases – one based on hospitals’ audited financial statements and the other based on Medicare cost reports.  Here are a couple of comparative data points from these two separate databases.

DATA FOR ALL U.S. HOSPITALS: Median values: Audited Financial Statements

  • 47.1 days  2010
  • 48.5 days  2014

DATA FOR ALL U.S. HOSPITALS: Median values: Medicare Cost Report Data

  • 52.3 days  2010
  • 57.2 days  2014

This data source has much more granular data according to characteristics of hospitals.  These metrics vary by region of the country – with the Northeast having the lowest values (this is desirable).  System-affiliated hospitals, as a group, have lower values (again, this is desirable) than independent hospitals do.

Source: Optum. (2015). Almanac of hospital financial & operating indicators: a comprehensive benchmark of the nation’s hospitals (2016 ed., pp. 74-79). Publisher’s website here: https://www.optumcoding.com/Product/43409/  Posted by AHA Resource Center, (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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