As managed care's share of a metropolitan market grows, hospitalization costs are more tightly controlled and hospital lengths of stay come down. That's what common sense suggests, and that's what a recent study bears out. But there are anomalies. In Milwaukee and Miami, for example, higher-than-average hospital costs coexist with fairly heavy managed care penetration. The maps below show how 20 of the nation's largest metropolitan areas fared in the study, which drew on a data base of 11.7 million patients discharged from 3,700 acute care hospitals.
Hospital costs by metropolitan area, vs. national average
Hospital lengths of stay by metropolitan area, vs. national average
Percentages are adjusted for severity differences.
SOURCE: KPMG PEAT MARWICK LLP, COSTA MESA, CALIF. (CALL 800-243-1397 FOR A COPY OF THE STUDY'S EXECUTIVE SUMMARY.)