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 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.)