California Hospital Utilization

The following graphs are primarily based on hospital utilization data submitted to California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD). This utilization data covers nearly all California hospitals from 2001-2016. Other data presented comes from the American Hospital Association (AHA), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Figure 1: The total number of admissions to hospitals in California has been surprisingly flat since 2001. In 2016 about 3 million patients were admitted to California hospitals which is slightly fewer than the 3.02 million patients admitted in 2001.

Figure 2: The censuses for California hospitals is the number of patients admitted to California hospitals each year times the average number of days each patient remained in the hospital. California hospital censuses were lower, on average, in 2016 than they were in 2001 since hospital stays have been decreasing.

Figure 3: In fact, according to data from the American Hospital Association (AHA), hospital censuses throughout the U.S. have dropped significantly since 1981.

Figure 4: The total number of Medicare recipients in California each year vs. Medicare admissions to California hospitals. Medicare recipients increased by 47% from 2001-2016.

Figure 5: The total number of Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid) recipients in California each year vs. Medi-Cal admissions to California hospitals. Medi-Cal recipients increased by more than 100% from 2001-2016.

Figure 6: The Proportion of both Medicare and Medi-Cal patients admitted to California hospitals has been declining steadily each year since 2001.