The Dynamics of Psychiatric Bed Use in General Hospitals

Eric P. Slade, Howard H. Goldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study examines general hospitals’ adjustments in psychiatric bed utilization practices in response to increases in psychiatric inpatient admissions. Using panel data from 439 hospitals, monthly observations (N = 7,831) between 2007 and 2010 on psychiatric admissions, psychiatric bed occupancy rates, and average length-of-stay were created for psychiatric inpatients. In fixed-effects regressions, an increase in psychiatric admissions was associated with an increase in the probability of psychiatric bed use exceeding 100 % occupancy and with a reduction of mean length-of-stay. These results were confirmed in instrumental variables models. General hospitals may dynamically adjust bed utilization practices in response to changing psychiatric bed needs. An implication of this dynamic adjustment model is that bed shortages are likely to be local, transitory events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-146
Number of pages8
JournalAdministration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Length-of-stay
  • Psychiatric inpatient care
  • Scatter beds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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