Hospital Stays


Lead Author(s): 

Andrew N. Pollak, MD

Supporting Author(s): 

Sylvia I. Watkins-Castillo, PhD

The average length of stay for hospital discharges with any injury diagnosis was approximately 6 days in 2011. Injuries other than musculoskeletal had a slightly longer length of stay of just over 6 days, while musculoskeletal injury patients had an average of slightly more than 5 days. Increasing age was associated with a longer stay, with the longest average stays reported by persons in the 45- to 74-year range. The type of injury also had an impact on length of stay, with open wounds resulting in the longest hospital stay among musculoskeletal injuries. The range for all types of injuries varied between 4 and 7 days. (Reference Table 6A.4.1.1 PDF CSV)
Average Length of Hospital Stay for Musculoskeletal Injury Diagnosis by Age, United States 2011
Average Length of Hospital Stay for Injury Diagnosis by Injury Type, United States 2011
Average hospital charges1 were also slightly higher for patients with non-musculoskeletal injuries, which include brain and spinal injuries, with the exception of average charges for fracture injury patients. However, because of the much higher number of musculoskeletal injury patient stays, the overall total hospital charges for treatment of musculoskeletal injuries were almost twice those of non-musculoskeletal injuries in 2010.

Average total hospital charges for musculoskeletal injuries were $48,700, while they were $52,900 for non-musculoskeletal injuries. The highest average hospital charges were $73,300 for those aged 18 to 44 hears being treated for dislocations.
Average Charge per Hospital Stay for Injury Diagnosis by Injury Type, United States 2011
Total cost for inpatient hospital care for injuries in 2011 was more than $123 million, with musculoskeletal injuries accounting for two-thirds of this total. Fractures, with more than $59.5 million in total hospital charges in 2011, accounted for 72% of musculoskeletal injury charges and nearly one-half (48%) of all injury charges. Increasing age was associated with a steady increase in the proportion of charges for musculoskeletal injury to all injury hospital discharges and in the share of total charges.

Proportion of Musculoskeletal Injury Hospital Discharges and Total Charges by Age, United States 2011

  • 1. Generally, total charges in the HCUP databases do not include professional fees and non-covered charges. If the source provides total charges with professional fees, then the professional fees are removed from the charge during HCUP processing. In a small number of HCUP databases, professional fees cannot be removed from total charges because the data source cannot provide the information. Emergency department charges incurred prior to admission to the hospital may be included in total charges. Medicare requires a bundled bill for Medicare patients admitted to the hospital through the ED. Other payers may or may not have similar requirements.


  • 2014

Chapter Graphs

To save an individual graph, right-click and select Save Image As

Topic Tables

Click on an image to view PDF