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Healthcare Insights

Examining hospital discharge data by state

Hospital discharge statistics can deliver useful insight into patient volumes, treatment quality, workload, and more. As a clinical metric, hospital discharges can be referenced against payor data to generate intelligence on a facility’s revenue cycle and its patients.

The Definitive Healthcare HospitalView product has data on more than 7,300 active hospitals. We analyzed data from 5,932 hospitals who reported discharges in 2022 to determine the average number of discharges at hospitals in each U.S. state.

Average number of hospital discharges per state


Fig. 1 Data is from the Definitive Healthcare HospitalView product and sourced from the April 2023 Medicare Cost Report according to the most recent 12-month interval tracked in our database. Data accessed May 2023.

Which U.S. state has the highest average discharges per hospital? 

At 11,635, Maryland leads the U.S. in average discharges per hospital. In terms of total discharges, Maryland lands in 18th place with 639,898 hospital discharges.

In second place is Florida with an average of 10,296 discharges per hospital. The Sunshine State takes third in the U.S. for total discharges, with 2,584,256 reported in 2022. 

The state with the third-highest average hospital discharge rate is New York with 10,054 discharges per hospital. New York has the fourth-highest total number of hospital discharges at 1.96 million. 

Types of hospital discharges

Every facility has its own policies and designations for different types of hospital discharges. Most patients experience a routine discharge after they’ve been declared medically stable and no longer need acute care. 

Patients who leave a healthcare facility against the advice of their provider are designated as against medical advice, or AMA, discharges. Transfers of patients from one facility to another for specialized care are also considered discharges. 

Some patients are discharged to hospice or palliative care when curative care is no longer possible. Others are discharged to receive home healthcare services on medical orders.

What is an unsafe discharge from hospital?

An unsafe discharge from hospital is a discharge with the potential to negatively affect a patient’s health. Also known as negligent or premature discharges, unsafe discharges can occur due to botched diagnoses or treatments, or in more egregious cases, because a hospital doubts a patient’s ability to pay for services.

Under state and federal law, unsafe discharges are considered a form of medical malpractice for which victims can receive compensation.

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Healthcare Insights are developed with healthcare commercial intelligence from the Definitive Healthcare platform. Want even more insights? Start a free trial now and get access to the latest healthcare commercial intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers.