While average length of stay has experienced a long-term decline, one component of average stay seems to be increasing – private rooms. The average stay in a private room increased nearly 10% based on an analysis of the 2016 Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) data set. 

 

Even more interesting is that, of the top 50 procedures ranked in terms of overall average stay, 23 or nearly half have experienced a 20% rise or greater in the average stay in a private room. This is shown by the dark blue color in the tree map below. The darker gold color shows decline in average private room stay with lighter colors showing minimal change.

 

MedPAR is based only on Medicare beneficiaries so the private room data may be explained by the decrease in infection rates from private room stays. Private rooms may not be viewed anymore as a luxury, but as a necessity. A hospital may be trading one set of costs for another.