Hospital admissions dropped substantially in the past three years, but some hospitals have been less affected than others. Despite a growing and aging population and a slightly improving economy, fewer people seem to be seeking care at hospitals—because they are either delaying it or forgoing some care altogether. Admissions typically peak in the first quarter of each year. Yet the past three years saw a substantial drop in admissions not only overall, but also from peak to peak for 2009 to 2011. Between the first quarter of 2009 and the second quarter of 2012, average acute care hospital admissions fell more than 5 percent—from 2,949 to 2,795 admissions.

A similar decline in utilization is evident in the total inpatient admissions for the cohort of hospitals in the Truven Health Hospital Drug Database: These hospitals experienced a drop of 10 percent, from nearly 227,000 total admissions to fewer than 200,000, between January 2010 and September 2012. 

But the decline in acute care admissions was not felt equally by all hospital types. Although teaching and small, medium, and large community hospitals experienced admission declines of 2 to 14 percent during this time, major teaching hospitals enjoyed a 12 percent increase in admissions. 

Exhibits 1&2


This report is based on key operational and financial indicators for nonfederal general acute care hospitals that contributed quarterly data to the ActionOI database, which contains operational and financial data from more than 750 healthcare organizations across the United States, and the Hospital Drug Database, which contains detailed healthcare claims data for a longitudinal cohort of hospitals. Hospital responses from ActionOI were weighted to make the sample comparable to the national distribution of all hospitals based on hospital class, location, ownership, and profitability. For more information, email David Koepke, PhD, at

Publication Date: Friday, February 01, 2013

Login Required

If you are an existing member, please log in below. Username and password are required.



Forgot User Name?
Forgot Password?

If you are not an HFMA member and would like to access portions of our content for 30 days, please fill out the following.

First Name:

Last Name:


   Become an HFMA member instead