Researchers from the Loma Linda University School of Public Health examined 1.98 million psychiatric discharges from community-based hospitals in California between 2002 and 2011, investigating hospitals’ religious affiliation and patients length of stay. They found that the average patients length of stay at faith-based hospitals was 7.5 days, compared to 8.3 days for all other psychiatric discharges.
[Photo: Dr. Jim E. Banta]
Dr. Jim E. Banta, an Associate Professor in the Center for Leadership in Health Systems along with Dr. Ogbochi McKinney, alumna of LLUSPH, conducted the study.
“What we found was that during a ten-year period there were 1,976,893 psychiatric inpatient discharges, of which a little over fourteen percent were from faith-based nonprofit hospitals; eighteen Catholic, seven Seventh-day Adventist, and one Jewish hospital,” said Dr. Banta. “These findings highlight the importance of faith-based hospitals in providing psychiatric care.”
Lengths of stays for patients at faith-based nonprofit hospitals were found to be shorter when compared to local government-controlled hospitals. Faith-based hospitals provide a substantial and consistent amount of psychiatric care in California and may have slightly lower length of stay after adjusting for patient and other hospital characteristics.
“Future research could help identify the inner workings of those hospitals to see what may be leading to the shorter length of stay, particularly to see how much of a role the religious preference of patients may play in determining length of stay and readmission,” said Dr. Banta.
“Faith-Based Hospitals and Variation in Psychiatric Inpatient Length of Stay in California, 2002-2011” is published online in the Journal of Religion and Health and can be found here, http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10943-015-0175-6