Length of stay as an outcome in an era of managed care: An empirical study

Michael Shwartz*, Kevin P. Mulvey, Donna Woods, Patrick Brannigan, Alonzo Plough

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Longer length of stay (LOS) in substance abuse treatment, a standard measure of treatment success, conflicts with pressures from managed care. To maintain LOS as an outcome, we identified, for four modalities, LOS categories such that program completion rates were relatively constant within category and differed among categories. We validated the cutoffs by showing that future utilization over a 2-year period by clients differed by category. Clients in the long-LOS category used the system in a way consistent with more successful treatment. Thus, rather than using increase in LOS as an outcome, one can use increase in the percentage of clients reaching the long- LOS category. Categories were developed and utilization analyzed for discharges from publicly funded Boston treatment programs between 1/92 and 12/94 from the following modalities: short-term residential (5,462 discharges), long-term residential (5,086 discharges), outpatient (13,656 discharges), and detox (19,965 discharges).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-18
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997


  • Length of stay
  • Managed care
  • Substance abuse treatment outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Length of stay as an outcome in an era of managed care: An empirical study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this