The paper examines trends in the use of inpatient substance abuse detoxification provided at general hospitals using data from the Healthcare Utilization and Cost Project - National Inpatient Survey. Most persons who received inpatient detoxification did not also receive rehabilitation while an inpatient. The percentage receiving rehabilitation declined between 1992 and 1997 from 38.9% to 21.1%. The decrease in the probability of receiving rehabilitation occurred across gender, age, region, insurance status, income levels, diagnoses, admission source, and discharge destination. Two other notable trends are that average length of stay for detoxification dropped by one third over the six-year period, from 7.7 days to 5.2 days and the percentage of admissions through the emergency room increased from 35.6% to 40.1%. Detoxification offers an opportunity to link patients with rehabilitation. This analysis indicates that those opportunities may be missed.
Trends in inpatient detoxification services, 1992-1997