A major new study by a Florida medical research company finds hospitals are still leasing their beds for about $500M a year, far below the $1 billion average of the past few decades.
In 2017, there were 1,091,000 beds in the United States, which accounted for about 4.8% of all hospital beds, according to a 2017 survey by the American Hospital Association.
That’s about $17.8 billion more than the $18.9 billion average, according the report released Wednesday by the Center for Hospital Research and Policy at Florida Atlantic University.
But the report notes that the rate of leasing is down from its high of nearly $2 billion in the early 1990s.
It also noted that the number of beds per hospital has dropped over the past decade, which suggests the trend is sustainable, though the number that have been leased to insurers has been declining.
Hospitals are also using their own space more than they did in the past, with about 10% of beds in use this year, the report found.
It said this is partly due to patients being more comfortable sharing beds, but also because the number in use has dropped due to the expansion of emergency rooms and other care facilities.
The trend has prompted a wave of consolidation in hospitals.
Hospos is a leading provider of health care services to hospitals and other health care facilities, and the association says its bed rental market has shrunk as other providers have seen their profits shrink.
But some analysts question whether the trend will continue as the number and variety of services the industry provides will continue to expand.
They say hospitals should not be competing against each other, but rather focusing on the best and most appropriate use of their facilities.
That could mean reducing the number or size of hospital beds or expanding the scope of care they can offer, they say.