Differences in length of stay and discharge destination among patients with substance use disorders: The effect of Substance Use Intervention Team (SUIT) consultation service

PLoS One. 2020 Oct 9;15(10):e0239761. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0239761. eCollection 2020.


Background: Addiction medicine consultation services (ACS) may improve outcomes of hospitalized patients with substance use disorders (SUD). Our aim was to examine the difference in length of stay and the hazard ratio for a routine hospital discharge between SUD patients receiving and not receiving ACS.

Methods: Structured EHR data from 2018 of 1,900 adult patients with a SUD-related diagnostic code at an urban academic health center were examined among 35,541 total encounters. Cox proportional hazards regression models were fit using a cause-specific approach to examine differences in hospital outcome (i.e., routine discharge, leaving against medical advice, in-hospital death, or transfer to another level of care). Models were adjusted for age, sex, race, ethnicity, insurance status, and comorbidities.

Results: Length of stay was shorter among encounters with a SUD that received a SUIT consultation versus those admissions that did not receive one (5.77 v. 6.54 days, p<0.01). In adjusted analyses, admissions that received a SUIT consultation had a higher hazard of a routine discharge [hazard ratio (95% confidence interval): 1.16 (1.03-1.30)] compared to those not receiving a SUIT consultation.

Conclusions: The SUIT consultation service was associated with a reduced length of stay and an increased hazard of a routine discharge. The SUIT model may serve as a benchmark and inform other health systems attempting to improve outcomes in SUD patient cohorts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / trends
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*