Length of Stay is a measure used in the post acute industry.  The confusing part is that there are multiple ways to calculate Average Length of Stay (ALOS) and different things to measure length of stay on!  Want a more in depth industry analysis of the metric and why it is important, I highly recommend this  article.

Patient Stay versus Payer Stay

From my experience, both metrics are important, but are measuring two very different things.  Patient Stay is important for hospitals to better understand which post acute facilities to partner with.  It is also helpful to track Patient Stays to better understand your patient population.  What percent of your residents are on their second or third stay?  Interested in learning more about this check out our Patient Stay post.

The payer length of stay is helpful for skilled patient populations.  Specifically, managed care wants to better understand who to send their patients too.  Many years ago, an Administrator called me up concerned about his operation.  A managed care payer called his facility complaining about their spiking ALOS at his building.  He needed a way to track this particular payer’s (Payer ALOS) to better manage outcomes and their relationship.  So we built this leader a tool that he could track daily/weekly how this specific payer’s ALOS is doing at his facility.  

Months of monitoring this metric and sharing with his clinical staff had dramatically lowered this payer’s ALOS.  After a couple of months, he received a call again from the managed care payer.  They were so thankful for his partnership and amazed at such a quick turnaround.  If my memory serves me, they became a preferred facility for this payer shortly afterward. 

How we have tracked average payer length of stay.

Let’s look at an example data set.

Patient A was admitted on 3/27/2017 under Managed Care

Patient A moved over to Medicaid on 4/15/2017, Patient A is still active in the building.

According to this data set, you can’t calculate their Patient Length of Stay yet because they have not been discharged.  You also can’t calculate a Medicaid Length of stay for the same reason.

For the month of April 2017, you can calculate Patient A Managed Care length of stay from 3/27/2017 to 4/15/2017.

Kevin Baker
Data Services Partners

Hi, I’m Kevin.

As former Director of Data Services at Ensign Services, a publicly traded company, I have an extensive background and expertise in the Skilled Nursing sector and the needs of both the management and information technology sides of the business. We’re experts in the systems and metrics that support Skilled Nursing and Post Acute Healthcare businesses.

My passion is helping businesses transform their data into actionable information to make better business decisions. We are developers you can trust. Data is our passion.

If you have a question about this article, or want to have a discussion about it, let’s chat!

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