AHA August 15, 2022

Hospital patients are sicker and more medically complex than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic, driving up hospital costs for labor, drugs and supplies, according to a new AHA report

“Combined with rapidly rising economy-wide inflation and reimbursement shortfalls, these mounting costs are threatening the financial stability of hospitals around the country,” the report notes.

Hospital patient acuity as measured by average length of stay (ALOS) rose almost 10% between 2019 and 2021, including a 6% increase for non-COVID-19 Medicare patients as the pandemic contributed to delayed and avoided care, the report notes. For example, ALOS rose 89% for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 65% for patients with neuroblastoma and adrenal cancer. In...

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