Discharge Delays for Patients Requiring In-Hospital Guardianship: A Cohort Analysis

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Abstract

Objective:

To assess nonclinical factors delaying hospital discharge of guardianship patients.

Data:

Utilization review data over 3 years.

Design:

Retrospective cohort study.

Analysis:

Mann–Whitney test was used to compare patients' medically unnecessary days (MUD) of hospitalization with additional subcategories of delays—defined as beyond clinicians' control.

Findings:

Overall median number of MUD was 19.5; 14 of 48 patients were additionally delayed while awaiting long-term care Medicaid approval (N = 7, 50%), pending insurance (N = 3, 21%), social or transportation difficulties (N = 3, 21%), or preadmission review (N = 1, 7%). The median number of MUD for the 14 delayed patients was 63, a difference of 53 days compared with the routine guardianship cohort (P < .0001) and $5.5M in net revenue opportunity.

Conclusions:

Nonclinical discharge delays for guardianship patients are costly and potentially unavoidable. Further exploration into policy change is therefore recommended.

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