Biweekly Briefing Articles

Engagement Needed for CHA Survey on Discharge Delays               

Recently, CHA sent an email to CEOs asking for their help in completing a survey on discharge delays. Given the importance of this survey, we will be accepting responses for the next couple weeks, so there’s still time to participate. It should only take about one hour to complete.    

You know all too well the impact these discharge delays have on so many aspects of the health care system. You know the challenges patients face when they must remain in the hospital longer than medically necessary. And it’s the same at psychiatric hospitals, which are also experiencing significant discharge delays that hinder your ability to admit new patients in a behavioral health crisis. You have also heard the frustration of ambulance crews that are delayed in transferring patients to hospitals, making it difficult for your hospitals to ensure timely access to care. 

These are issues that CHA has raised regularly with both state and federal agencies. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts to draw attention to the problem, there is still little recognition of the severity of the problem and a lack of sense of urgency to address the issues that result in discharge delays. CHA is also limited by a lack of up-to-date comprehensive information on the frequency, scope, and nature of discharge delays. 

That’s why this survey, which is for emergency departments, general acute care hospitals (excluding psychiatric units), and acute psychiatric hospitals/acute psychiatric units, is so important. Depending on the services available at your hospital, you may need to complete one, two, or all three sections. I encourage you to answer the survey and take advantage of the opportunity to share data on the challenges with discharge delays that your hospitals are facing. Guidance is available that may be useful when answering the questions.  

Thanks in advance for your engagement on this issue as we work to respond to the longstanding problem of discharge delays in order to preserve acute hospital services.