60 hospital benchmarks | 2021

Hospitals across the nation compete in a number of ways, including on quality of care and price, and many use benchmarking to determine the top priorities for improvement. The continuous benchmarking process allows hospital executives to see how their organizations stack up against regional competitors as well as national leaders.

Becker’s Hospital Review has collected benchmarks related to some of the most important day-to-day areas hospital executives oversee.


Key ratios

Source: Healthcare Financial Management Association, “2019 Statistics and Ratio Medians” report, updated March 2020. The figures are based on numbers from Optum, the only of the updated report’s three sources to have included both a sample size and figures for a significant number of measures.

  1. Maintained bed occupancy: 43.1 percent
  2. Operating margin: 2.37 percent
  3. Total debt-to-capitalization: 22.3 percent
  4. Current ratio: 2x
  5. Accounts receivable: 54.9 days
  6. Average age of plant: 11.9 years

Hospital margins by credit rating group

Source: S&P Global Ratings, “U.S. Not-For-Profit Health Care System Median Financial Ratios — 2019 vs. 2020” report, August 2021.

“AA+” rating

  1. Operating margin: 4.5 percent
  2. Operating EBIDA margin: 11.3 percent
  3. Excess margin: 5.5 percent
  4. EBIDA margin: 12.2 percent

“AA” rating

  1. Operating margin: 3.2 percent
  2. Operating EBIDA margin: 8.3 percent
  3. Excess margin: 5.8 percent
  4. EBIDA margin: 10.7 percent

“AA-” rating

  1. Operating margin: 1.9 percent
  2. Operating EBIDA margin: 7.1 percent
  3. Excess margin: 4.1 percent
  4. EBIDA margin: 9.2 percent 

“A+” rating

  1. Operating margin: 1.6 percent
  2. Operating EBIDA margin: 8.1 percent
  3. Excess margin: 3.1 percent
  4. EBIDA margin: 8.9 percent 

“A” rating

  1. Operating margin: 0.7 percent
  2. Operating EBIDA margin: 6.6 percent
  3. Excess margin: 2.3 percent
  4. EBIDA margin: 8 percent

“A-” rating

  1. Operating margin: 0.6 percent
  2. Operating EBIDA margin: 6.7 percent
  3. Excess margin: 2.4 percent
  4. EBIDA margin: 8 percent

Average adjusted expenses per inpatient day

Source: Kaiser State Health Facts, accessed in 2021 and based on 2019 data, the most recent available. 

Adjusted expenses per inpatient day include all operating and nonoperating expenses for registered U.S. community hospitals, defined as public, nonfederal, short-term general and other hospitals. The figures are an estimate of the expenses incurred in a day of inpatient care and have been adjusted higher to reflect an estimate of the volume of outpatient services.

  1. Nonprofit hospitals: $2,738
  2. For-profit hospitals: $2,149
  3. State/local government hospitals: $2,372

Quality and process of care 

Source: Hospital Compare, HHS, Complications and Deaths-National Averages, May 2020, and Timely and Effective Care-National Averages, May 2018, the latest available data for these measures.

Hospital-acquired conditions

The following represent the average percentage of patients in the U.S. who experienced the conditions.

  1. Postoperative kidney injury requiring dialysis: 1.42 percent
  2. A wound that splits open on the abdomen or pelvis after surgery: 1.2 percent
  3. Postoperative wound rupture: 1.29 percent
  4. Serious pulmonary blood clots after surgery: 3.63 percent
  5. Accidental introduction of air between the lungs and chest wall: 0.23 percent
  6. Bloodstream infection after surgery: 4.9 percent
  7. Postoperative respiratory failure rate: 5.03 percent
  8. Pressure sores: 0.59 percent
  9. Broken hip from a fall after surgery: 0.1 percent
  10. Perioperative hemorrhage or hematoma rate: 2.55 percent

Death rates

  1. Death rate for surgical inpatients with serious treatable complications: 15.9 percent
  2. Death rate for CABG surgery patients: 2.9 percent
  3. Death rate for COPD patients: 8.1 percent
  4. Death rate for pneumonia patients: 15.3 percent
  5. Death rate for stroke patients: 13.5 percent
  6. Death rate for heart attack patients: 12.3 percent
  7. Death rate for heart failure patients: 11.2 percent

Outpatients with chest pain or possible heart attack

  1. Median time to transfer to another facility for acute coronary intervention: 58 minutes
  2. Percentage who got drugs to break up clots within 30 minutes of arrival: 54 percent

Lower extremity joint replacement patients

  1. Rate of complications for hip/knee replacement patients: 2.4 percent

Flu vaccination

  1. Healthcare workers who received flu vaccination: 91 percent

Pregnancy and delivery care

  1. Mothers whose deliveries were scheduled one to two weeks early when a scheduled delivery was not medically necessary: 3 percent

Emergency department care

  1. Average time patient spent in the ED before leaving from the visit: 143 minutes
  2. Percentage of patients who came to ED with stroke symptoms who received brain scan results within 45 minutes of arrival: 72 percent
  3. Percentage of patients who left the ED before being seen: 2 percent

Miscellaneous care

  1. Percentage of patients who received appropriate recommendation for follow-up colonoscopy screening: 91 percent
  2. Percentage of patients who received appropriate care for severe sepsis and septic shock: 60 percent

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