There is a longstanding but unproven belief that shortening LOS will lead to higher readmission rates. This study of 129 VA hospitals over 14 years found significant decreases in both LOS and readmissions among 5 diagnoses; hospitals with shorter LOS did have higher readmission rates, with ~ a 6% increase in readmissions for every day reduction in LOS. More research needs to be done to determine the “tipping point” between reducing LOS and increasing readmissions (abstract).
Dr. Scheurer is a clinical hospitalist and the Medical Director of Quality and Safety at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, and is Assistant Professor of Medicine. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, completed her residency at Duke University, and completed her Masters in Clinical Research at the Medical University of South Carolina. She also serves as the Web Editor and Physician Advisor for the Society of Hospital Medicine.