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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. To ensure the analysis results were not skewed, we only looked at hospitals that discharged over 50 patients in the previous year.

Top 10 short-term acute care hospitals with the longest average length of stay (ALOS)

RankHospital Name State Definitive ID # of Discharges Average Length of Stay Explore dataset
1St Joseph's Hospital NY 2769 308 20.7 Explore
2Kensington Hospital PA 3575 94 17 Explore
3Memorial Hospital Stone County (FKA Stone County Hospital) MS 2318 273 16.8 Explore
4Yalobusha General Hospital MS 2333 241 16.7 Explore
5UM Rehabilitation & Orthopedic Institute (FKA Kernan Hospital) MD 1911 1,896 16.6 Explore
6Harmon Hospital NV 6408 2,720 14.8 Explore
7Administracion De Servicios Medicos De Puerto Rico PR 4663 1,505 13.7 Explore
8Samaritan Hospital - St Mary's Campus NY 2884 454 13.7 Explore
9Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital PA 3547 1,852 12.5 Explore
10Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center CA 488 1,387 12.4 Explore

Fig. 1. Analysis of active short-term acute care hospitals using data from our HospitalView product. The number of facilities represents only those hospitals listed as “active” in the Definitive Healthcare database as of January 2024. Accessed May 2024. 

Which hospital has the longest average length of stay? 

St. Joseph’s Hospital takes the top spot on our list with an average length of stay of 20.7 days. The facility is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a best hospital in the New York Metropolitan Area and is one of only 11 hospitals nationwide to receive the Lantern Award by the Emergency Nurses Association.   

In second place is Kensington Hospital, with an average length of stay of 17 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 in third place with an ALOS of 16.8 days. The facility specializes in family medicine, orthopedics, and podiatry. 

For more insights into hospital ALOS, check out our healthcare insight on hospital average length of stay by state 

The importance of average length of stay (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 many different factors, ranging from the severity of the patient’s condition to the quality of the care provided.  

Medical errors can also extend how long a patient stays in a hospital. 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. 

How many health professionals does a patient see during an average hospital stay? 

 A patient might see many different healthcare professionals during their stay, depending on the reason for the admission and the severity of the condition. Generally speaking, patients will see more nurses and nurse assistants than doctors. Patients admitted for surgery are also likely to see more healthcare professionals during their stay than other types of patients.  

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