David Belk

Hello Everyone!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve sent out an update, but I’m still busy writing my book (which is taking a lot of my time). I’m nearly done and currently trying to find a publisher (which is also quite difficult). In the meantime, I have updated one of the pages in my website, so I thought I’d share my recent findings with all of you since I think most people will be surprised with what I’ve found.

The information presented on this page is derived from data I obtained from three main sources:

1) The American Hospital Association (AHA).

2) The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

3) California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD).

It addresses hospital utilization trends going back to 1981. Here are my main findings:

1) Inpatient censuses for U.S. hospitals have been steadily declining for nearly four decades.

2) Fewer Medicare and Medicaid patients are being admitted to U.S. hospitals each year in spite of the substantial increases in Medicare and Medicaid recipients.

3) Hospitals are providing far more outpatient services than in the past, largely to replace their decline in inpatients.

4) There are far fewer hospitals and hospital beds in the U.S. than there were in the 1980’s.

5) The total number of surgeries performed in the U.S., both inpatient and outpatient, hasn’t changed significantly since 2001 in spite of the fact that the U.S. population has both aged and increased.

6) Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) have also seen a decline in their censuses in recent years.

In other words, we’re utilizing hospitals less than in the past even though we’re paying them more, which I find interesting.


David Belk MD