J Hosp Med. 2023 Aug 21. doi: 10.1002/jhm.13179. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Physical therapy (PT) appears beneficial for hospitalized patients. Little is known about PT practice patterns and costs across hospitals.
OBJECTIVE: To examine whether receiving PT is associated with specific patient and hospital characteristics for patients with pneumonia. We also explored the variability in PT service provision and costs between hospitals.
METHODS: We included administrative claims from 2010 to 2015 in the Premier Healthcare Database, inclusive of 644 US hospitals. We examined associations between receiving at least one PT visit and patient (age, race, insurance, intensive care utilization, comorbidity status, and length of stay) and hospital (academic status, rurality, size, and location) characteristics. Exploratory measures included timing and proportion of days with PT visits, and per-visit and per-admission costs.
RESULTS: Of 768,010 patients, 49% had PT. After adjustment, older age most significantly increased the probability of receiving PT (+38.0% if >80 vs. ≤50 years). Higher comorbidity burden, longer length of stay, and hospitalization in an urban setting were also associated with higher probability. Hospitalization in the South most significantly decreased the probability (-9.1% vs. Midwest). Patients without Medicare and Non-White patients also had lower probability. Median (interquartile range) days to first visit was 2 (1-4). Mean proportion of days with a visit was 35% ± 20%. Median per-visit cost was $88.90 [$56.70-$130.90] and per-admission was $224.00 [$137.80-$369.20].
CONCLUSION: Both clinical (intensive care utilization and comorbidity status) and non-clinical (age, race, rurality, location) factors were associated with receiving PT. Within and between hospitals, there was high variability in the number and frequency of visits, and costs.