One of the alarming stories that you will see in the coming days are reports that many hospitals’ ICU are at 90% capacity. This seems like the ICU is crowded, but that isn’t the case. Hospitals normally try to keep the ICU at 75% to 85% capacity. As support, here are two studies on that:

Optimal occupancy in the ICU: A literature review

reporting of ICU occupancy measures were identified and there were indications that optimal ICU occupancy rates were around 70–75%. 

What Is The Ideal Hospital Occupancy Rate?

I like having a midnight census of about 85% on Monday through Wednesday. That 15% buffer allows us to overlap that day’s admissions with that day’s discharges in the afternoons and also give us rooms to put the new admission in while we are cleaning the recently vacated rooms. Thursdays and Fridays, I like a midnight census of 80%. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 75% is acceptable because our surgical floors are starting to empty out and we reduce scheduled nursing staff accordingly.

So seeing a 90% occupancy rate is not a whole lot higher than normal. In fact, hospitals can’t be profitable with a census below 70%.

If the occupancy is too low, then you have too many staff sitting around without work to do and you will lose money. If the occupancy is too high, then a couple of nurse call-offs means excessive work for the other nurses and can hurt morale. Furthermore, if you are completely full, you have to turn away patients and in the long-run that can harm both reputation and future referrals.

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Miguel GFZ · July 10, 2020 at 3:11 pm

That expalins (more or less to my less trained brain) this quote from the Miami Herald that did not make sense to me:

Boulenger said Baptist Health had 618 patients with COVID-19 staying overnight at the healthcare system’s 11 hospitals on Thursday, including 111 patients in the ICU. The hospital system has also discharged just over 2,100 COVID-19 patients since the pandemic began.

I wonder how you can be in ICU and/or ventilator just overnight"

Miguel GFZ · July 10, 2020 at 3:11 pm

The article

Divemedic · July 10, 2020 at 7:09 pm

The census is an overnight one. Every night, hospitals count the number of patients that are there. That is why they phrase it that way.

My son is still doing travel work because his regular hospital still has him laid off. The number of people going to the hospital is still way down from normal because people are afraid of going to the hospital.

FredLewers · July 12, 2020 at 5:34 am

The decrease in bullshit no pay visits because they don't have a primary care provider to address every ache and pain ain't hurting their bottom line either

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