The average length of stay at rehabilitation hospitals fell to 12 days in 2001 from 20 days in 1994, largely because of reimbursement changes, a study in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association reports. While patients' functional status was stable, mortality increased to 4.7% in 2001 among patients scheduled for checkups 80 days to 180 days after discharge, compared with less than 1% in 1994, the researchers said. They said more research was needed to explain the increase. The greatest decrease in length of stay -- 42% -- occurred among orthopedic patients. The study included data from 744 rehabilitation hospitals and rehabilitation inpatient centers in 48 states. At deadline, the report was not available on JAMA's Web site. -- by Joseph Mantone
Rehab stays drop eight days in seven years: report
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