Case Management

Q&A: Average LOS for specific MS-DRGs?

Case Management Weekly, February 16, 2011

Q: Should discharge planners know the average LOS for specific MS-DRGs?

A: Discharge planners need this information only as a tool to manage resources and to establish targets for discharge days. MS-DRGs are based on averages. This could mean patients are released within the ALOS 80% of the time.

For example,, compare Hospital A with Hospital B. For Hospital A, of 100 patients in an MS-DRG with an ALOS of five days, 80% stay five days 10% stay four days, and 10% stay six days. The patient days for the MS-DRG for the year at Hospital A are 420. For Hospital B, of 100 patients, 50% are discharged at five days, 25% at four days, and 25% at six days. The patient days at Hospital B is 500. Hospital A is more efficient having 80 days fewer for the same number of patients. With an ALOS of five days, this means that Hospital A can admit 10 more patients over the course of the year.

This question and answer are adapted from Discharge Planning Guide: Tools for Compliance published by HCPro, Inc. For more information on this newsletter or to order your copy, visit the HCMarketplace.

Do you have a question about a case management topic? Send it to Associate Editor Ben Amirault at An answer to your question might appear in a future issue of Case Management Weekly.

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