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The United States of Short Hospital Stays

We spend more for medical care in the United States than just about anywhere in the world, but it’s not because people in this country get admitted to the hospital and stay for long periods of time. Instead, we have shorter length of stays in American hospitals than in the vast majority of developed countries around the world. Here is a recent picture showing these figures:

United States of Long Hospital Stays

The major reason we have such short length of stay? Because in the 1980s, Medicare started paying hospitals in lump sums – a patient admitted with diagnosis X would receive a certain amount of money, regardless of whether that patient stayed in the hospital for three days, five days or longer.

I am guessing that’s not what’s happening in Korea and Japan. Anybody know why their length of stay is so… lengthy?


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