Iowans who go to the hospital aren’t staying as long. The trend is similar to national figures for hospital stays, and Scott McIntyre with the Iowa Hospital Association says the average patient’s time in a hospital bed is almost half what it was three decades ago. He says it’s attributable mainly to technology, which lets doctors do complex procedures that used to take long hospital stays as outpatient procedures today. McIntyre says our care in Iowa’s considered among the top ten in the country. He says the benefit to the patient is getting to go recover at home among family, and getting back to work and their own lives more quickly. McIntyre admits insurance companies have also been a force working to cut the length of costly hospital stays. Of course that’s to the benefit of the company, because shorter stays cut insurance costs, but he thinks despite publicized disagreements over care decisions at times, overall the cooperation between insurers and healthcare providers to cut hospital stay time has worked out well. The main cause of death both nationally and in Iowa remains heart disease, though that includes a wide range of end-of-life conditions. From 1004 to 2001, the state’s hospital association reports Iowa patients’ length of stay has dropped from a third to half the time, in several categories of illness. That includes cutting heart-attack stays from three days to two, limb-reattachment patients from six and-a-half days to four and-a-half and “vascular procedures” like angioplasty to open clogged vessels down from four-point-eight to two-point-seven days of inpatient care. A few have increased a little…healthy childbirth length-of-stay now two-point-two days, compared to 2-point-1 seven years earlier.
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