Increased length of stay and costs associated with weekend admissions for failure to thrive

Rachel T. Thompson, William E. Bennett, S. Maria E. Finnell, Stephen M. Downs, Aaron E. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate whether admission day of the week affects the length of stay (LOS) and health care costs for failure to thrive (FTT) admissions. Methods: Administrative data were obtained for all children aged <2 years (N = 23 332) with a primary admission diagnosis of FTT from 2003-2011 from 42 freestanding US hospitals. Demographic characteristics, day of admission, LOS, costs per stay, number of discharge diagnoses, primary discharge diagnoses, primary procedure code, number of radiologic and laboratory units billed during admission were obtained for each admission. Linear regression and zero-truncated Poisson regression were used for analysis. Results: Weekend admission was significantly correlated with increased LOS and increased average cost (P < .002). This finding was also true for children with both admission and discharge diagnoses of FTT (P < .001). The number of procedures for children admitted on the weekend was not significantly different compared with children admitted on the weekdays (incident rate ratio [IRR]:1.04 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.99-1.09]). However, weekend admissions did have more radiologic studies (IRR: 1.13 [95% CI: 1.10-1.16]) and laboratory tests (IRR: 1.39 [95% CI: 1.38-1.40]) performed. If one-half of weekend admissions in 2010 with both admission and discharge diagnoses of FTT were converted to Monday admissions, total savings in health care dollars for 2010 would be $534, 145. Conclusions: Scheduled FTT admissions on weekends increased LOS and health care costs compared with weekday admissions of similar levels of complexity. Reduction in planned weekend admissions for FTT could significantly reduce health care costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e805-e810
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Cost analysis
  • Failure to thrive
  • Medical economics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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