Academic journal article Health Care Financing Review

Hospitals Post Lower Occupancy Rates

Academic journal article Health Care Financing Review

Hospitals Post Lower Occupancy Rates

Article excerpt

The overall occupancy rate at New York City hospitals dropped to 82 percent in the third quarter of 1993, the lowest rate since the "occupancy crisis" of the late 1980s, when the rate was over 90 percent.

According to Hospital Watch, the United Hospital Funds's quarterly report on hospital operations and finances, the average occupancy rate at New York city voluntary hospitals over the first three quarters of 1993 dropped to 84.8 percent; for municipal hospitals, the average rate over the same period dipped to 83.7 percent.

The occupancy rate is a measure of the utilization of hospitals relative to their capacity, and affects the hospital's financial performance.

A closer examination of the declines shows that since 1991, occupancy rates have fallen in medicine and surgery, and in pediatrics and maternity. The report notes, however, that rates rose for intensive care and substance abuse services over the period, suggesting that the increased demand may reflect growing urban problems.

"A major factor contributing to the over-all drop in occupancy rates was the hospitals' success in reducing their relatively high length of stay," said Louis Caliguiri, manager of Hospital Watch. From 1991-93, length of stay was reduced for all services at voluntary hospitals and for most services at municipal hospitals.

Although the use of inpatient services has declined, Hospital Watch reports notable increases in the use of hospital outpatient services. …

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