As recently as 30 years ago, there was little concern with whether hospitals were being used effectively. The overall admission rate was 59 per 1,000 persons. But great changes in the system of medical care, gradually evolving medical science, changes in public attitudes, development of prepayment mechanisms, and other factors have combined to change this. Last year the admission rate to short-term general hospitals was 135.8 per 1,000. Although the vast hospital construction program that followed World War II had laced the nation with a network of hospitals and expanded the bed supply significantly, the increased demand for hospital care more than kept pace. In 1953, the occupancy rate for nonfederal, short-term general hospitals was 72%. By 1964, it had risen more than four percentage points to 76.3%, even though 500 hospitals and almost 175,000 beds had been added in the interim.
To a degree, averages are myths. The reported