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January 1987

Length of Hospital Stay for Routine Surgery

Author Affiliations

Greenville, NC

Arch Surg. 1987;122(1):120-121. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1987.01400130126028

To the Editor.—Over the past few years, there has been an extraordinary emphasis by governmental agencies and insurance companies on reducing length of hospital stay as a means of controlling health care costs. As a result, physicians are altering their practices dramatically to try to respond to this concern. In the June issue of the Archives, Luna et al1 compared the length of stay following routine biliary surgery at two different community hospitals and found a statistically significant difference of 2.6 days. It is interesting that they correlated the difference with increased use of nasogastric tubes and abdominal drains at the hospital with the longer length of stay. They did not

actually do a cost analysis to determine what the cost differences between the two hospitals were, but they implied that they would be enormous. To support this, they estimated that the 200 patients at "hospital B" had