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Health Serv Res. 2001 Dec;36(6 Pt 1):1073-83.

Pennsylvania's early discharge legislation: effect on maternity and infant lengths of stay and hospital charges in Philadelphia.

Author information

1
Philadelphia Department of Public Health, PA 19146, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the effect of maternal length of stay (LOS) legislation on LOS and hospital charges associated with Philadelphia resident live births from 1994 through 1997.

DATA SOURCE/STUDY SETTING:

This was a descriptive epidemiological study involving secondary data analyses of linked birth record and hospital discharge data pertaining to all Philadelphia resident live births occurring between January 1, 1994 and December 31, 1997.

STUDY DESIGN:

Using these linked data, trends in median and mean maternal and infant LOS and hospital charges were described for three distinct time periods: (1) a "prelegislative" period (January 1, 1994 through June 30, 1995); (2) a one-year period during which LOS legislation was introduced, debated, modified, and eventually passed by Pennsylvania lawmakers (July 1, 1995 through June 30, 1996); and (3) a "post-LOS law" period immediately following enactment of Act 85 mandating minimum LOS for mothers and their newborns (July 1, 1996 through December 31, 1997). LOS variables for both mothers and infants were calculated based on the actual number of hours elapsing between birth and discharge; hospital charges were obtained directly from information available in the Hospital Discharge Survey data.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

Maternal median charges and LOS per delivery for vaginal births rose from 5,270 dollars to 6,333 dollars and from 35 to 47 hours following the enactment of Pennsylvania maternal minimum LOS legislation. Median infant cost and LOS per delivery mirrored these trends.

CONCLUSIONS:

Pennsylvania LOS legislation had a profound effect on maternal and infant discharge practices in Philadelphia. As much as $20 million may have been added to annual health care costs associated with Philadelphia resident births.

PMID:
11775668
PMCID:
PMC1089279
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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