Two-midnight rule sends hospital inpatient admissions crashing to record lows, analysis finds

Share this article:

A newly implemented admissions policy has driven hospital inpatient stays to record low levels, according to an analysis from researchers associated with Citigroup.

Inpatient admission to hospitals declined 4.5% in November from their levels a year earlier, the report showed. Furthermore, only 5% of respondents reported year-over-year growth in overall admissions, which was the weakest result in 11 years of the Citi Research survey. That figure was 22% in October.

Analysts pegged the drastic decreases to the implementation of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services policy known as the “two-midnight rule.” Most hospital stays lasting less than two midnights are to be considered outpatient stays under this regulation.

The troubles surrounding healthcare.gov and the insurance mandate part of the Affordable Care Act, as well as the “cumulative impact of changing physician employment and payment models,” likely also contributed to the plunging inpatient numbers, according to the analysts. They looked at responses from 98 hospitals.

Long-term care providers have an interest in the two-midnight rule, which some anticipated would decrease the number of people kept for days in outpatient “observation” status. Observation stays do not count toward a three-midnight hospital inpatient threshold to qualify for Medicare coverage of subsequent skilled nursing care.

Share this article:

More in News

'Minor' issues at the nursing home can cause disastrous care transitions, expert warns

'Minor' issues at the nursing home can cause ...

What may appear to be minor administrative problems in a nursing home - a fax machine locked away at night or no one designated to copy paperwork - can cause ...

Long-term care facilities approach 80% worker flu vaccination rate after handing power ...

Fourteen long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania dramatically increased their staff flu vaccination rate by having a regional pharmacy take over the process, according to a report issued Thursday by the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHQR).

RACs were 'most improved' healthcare auditors for getting back money in 2013, ...

Medicare Recovery Audit Contractors dramatically stepped up their overpayment recoveries last year, returning nearly $487 million more to the government than they did in 2012, according to a new report from a federal watchdog agency.