Changes in Hospital Inpatient Stays Over Ten Years: Less Cardiac Care, More Mental Health and Sepsis Admissions Interview with:
Ruirui Sun, Service Fellow, Economist
Center for Delivery, Organization and Markets
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality What is the background for this study?

Response: Hospital inpatient care has experienced changes due to factors such as population growth, rising of prevalence of chronic disease and efforts to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations. We generated information from the National Hospital Utilization and Costs path on Fast Stats ( ), to present the trends on national hospitalization and costs from 2005 to 2014, as well as the most common diagnoses among inpatient stays over the 10-year period. What are the main findings?

  • Between 2005 and 2014, the inflation-adjusted mean cost per inpatient stay increased by 12.7 percent, from $9,500 to $10,900.
  • Inflation-adjusted cost per stay for patients covered by private insurance or Medicaid increased 16-18 percent. Cost per stay for Medicare-covered patients and the uninsured changed minimally.
  • The rate of inpatient stays decreased the most among patients in the highest income quartiles (15-20 percent decrease).
  • The proportion of Medicaid-covered inpatient stays increased by 15.7 percent, whereas the proportion paid by private insurance and that were uninsured decreased by 12.5 and 13.0 percent, respectively.
  • Mental health/substance use accounted for nearly 6 percent of all inpatient stays in 2014, up 20.1 percent from 2005.
  • Between 2005 and 2014, septicemia and osteoarthritis became two of the five most common reasons for inpatient stays. Septicemia hospital stays almost tripled.
  • Nonspecific chest pain and coronary atherosclerosis decreased by more than 60 percent from 2005 to 2014, falling off the list of top 10 reasons for hospitalization. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Hospitalization numbers and costs changed from 2005 to 2014, with various degrees based on factors such as patient demographic information, income level, and insurance types. In 2014, Septicemia hospital stays almost tripled the numbers in 2005 and became the top reasons for non-neonatal non-maternal inpatient stays. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: We hope researchers use our statistics and the side-by-side comparisons on Fast Stats to understand the heterogeneous changes in inpatient care for different patient groups. We also hope this brief generates interests to further look into the cause of increases in certain diagnoses conditions.

The findings on septicemia were so remarkable that my coauthors have started another statistical brief focusing specifically on sepsis/septicemia.

No disclosures.

For more detailed information, please visit HCUP Fast Stats, which provides interactive visual statistical displays on select health information topics, including trends in payer types, hospital utilization and costs, and opioid-related hospital visits over time: Thank you for your contribution to the community.


McDermott KW (IBM Watson Health), Elixhauser A (AHRQ), Sun R (AHRQ). Trends in Hospital Inpatient Stays in the United States, 2005-2014. HCUP Statistical Brief #225. June 2017. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.




Last Updated on July 24, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD