2013 Edition — California Hospitals

Buildings, beds, and business

Lisa Maiuro, Health Management Associates
Bret Corzine, Health Management Associates


California’s 393 general acute care (GAC) hospitals saw 46 million outpatients and discharged 3.5 million inpatients in 2010, at a time when the number of beds available had declined to the lowest level in a decade. This report examines the state’s GAC hospital facilities, including their bed supply and capacity, use of services, financial health, and selected quality measures.

Key findings include:

  • The number of hospitals declined 5% and licensed beds dropped 3% from 2001 to 2010, while the population increased 8%.
  • The number of skilled nursing beds in hospitals fell by one-third between 2001 and 2010. Emergency department beds increased steadily during the same period.
  • Use of EDs increased 12% from 262 visits per 1,000 in 2005 to 293 visits per 1,000 in 2010; nevertheless, California had significantly fewer ED visits per 1,000 population than the US as a whole in 2010.
  • The eight largest hospital systems accounted for 38% of California hospitals and beds in 2010.
  • Staffing per bed in California rose 14% between 2001 and 2010, due in part to an increase in registered nurses per bed.
  • A larger proportion of hospitals were profitable in 2010 compared to 2001 as reflected by both total and operating margins.
  • Salaries, wages, and benefits accounted for half of hospital operating expenses in 2010, having increased over 100% since 2001.
  • Uncompensated care as measured by charity care and bad debt rose by 50% between 2001 and 2010 to $2.4 billion. During that time charity care nearly doubled.
  • California consistently performed slightly below the US average on eight patient satisfaction measures.

The full report and a quick reference guide are available for download below. These materials are part of CHCF’s California Health Care Almanac, an online clearinghouse for key data and analyses describing the state’s health care landscape. See our entire collection of current and past editions of California Hospitals and Emergency Departments.