Healthcare Insights

What's the average length of stay at a hospital?

According to the American Hospital Association, the average length of stay (ALOS) refers to the average number of days that patients spend in a hospital setting. It is measured by dividing the total number of days stayed by all inpatients during a year by the number of admissions or discharges.

Below, we’ve used HospitalView to analyze which short-term acute care hospitals have the longest average length of stay, according to the most recent 12-month interval tracked in our database. For the purposes of analysis, we only looked at hospitals that discharged more than 50 patients in the previous 12 months in order to not skew the results.

Top 10 short-term acute care hospitals with the longest ALOS

RankHospital nameStateDefinitive ID# of dischargesAverage length of stayExplore dataset
1Kensington HospitalPA357511816.8Explore
2Memorial Hospital Stone County (FKA Stone County Hospital)MS231827316.8Explore
3Bibb Medical CenterAL2322916.7Explore
4Yalobusha General HospitalMS233325815.1Explore
5St Lukes Sacred Heart Campus (FKA Sacred Heart Hospital)PA35261,49514.1Explore
6Seymour HospitalTX384724513.8Explore
7Samaritan Hospital - St Marys CampusNY288445413.7Explore
8Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center (FKA Seattle Cancer Care Alliance)WA569252212.2Explore
9Jefferson County HospitalMS22817011.9Explore
10Hill Hospital of Sumter CountyAL10933311.2Explore

Fig. 1. Analysis of active short-term acute care hospitals using data from Definitive Healthcare’s HospitalView product. The number of facilities represents only those hospitals listed as “active” in the Definitive Healthcare database as of January 2023. Accessed April 28, 2023.

Which hospital has the longest average length of stay?

In first place is Kensington Hospital, with an average length of stay of 16.8 days. Kensington Hospital specializes in internal, geriatric, sleep, and pulmonary medicine. With more than 140 years of service, this facility is one of the oldest and last remaining independent non-profit hospitals in Philadelphia, PA.

Memorial Hospital Stone County is tied with Kensington Hospital for first place, also having an ALOS of 16.8 days. The facility specializes in family medicine, orthopedics, and podiatry.

And in second place is Bibb Medical Center, located in Alabama. This government-owned facility has an average length of stay of 16.7 days. In addition to general medical and surgical services, Bibb Medical Center provides short-term rehab and 24-hour skilled nursing care.

The importance of ALOS in hospitals

The average length of stay in a hospital is commonly used to gauge the efficiency of a healthcare facility.

A longer stay can be indicative of poor-quality care, breakdowns in communication and collaboration, poor discharge planning, medical errors, and other factors. This can be a very costly mistake for a hospital, as it won’t be reimbursed for the costs associated with caring for patients for the additional days they are in the hospital. Future patients will also suffer, as the hospital is now operating at a reduced capacity.

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