HCA of Nashville, Tenn., had more discharges in 2016 than any other health system in the United States, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
HCA’s 192 hospitals recorded over 1.7 million discharges last year, more than twice as many as Ascension Health in St. Louis, which discharged almost 860,000 patients from its 136 hospitals. Tennessee is also the home of the nation’s third-largest health system, Community Health Systems of Franklin, which totaled just over 805,000 discharges in 2016. Tenet Healthcare Corporation in Dallas was fourth with 752,000 discharges, and Trinity Health in Livonia, Mich., was fifth with 737,000 discharges, the AHRQ said in its Compendium of U.S. Health Systems, 2016.
Of course, discharges are not the only way to measure the size of health systems. A look at the total number of physicians, for example, shows that Kaiser Permanente of Oakland, Calif., is tops with 20,300 doctors (ranked 7th by discharges), and Sutter Health of Sacramento is second with 10,610, even though it’s only 24th when ranked by the number of discharges. Ranking health systems by the number of hospitals puts HCA on top again at 192, with Universal Health Services of Norristown, Pa., second at 168 (ranked 14th by discharges), the compendium’s data on 626 health systems show.