The average length of stay for patients at Edgewater Hospital is four days, compared to six days at University Hospit...

Nicolette on September 16, 2014

Can you please clarify?

The correct answer choice is C, which states that the reasoning fails to consider that patients tend to be treated for "different illnesses." However, the statement clearly includes the fact that "recovery rates at the 2 hospitals are similar for patients with SIMILAR ILLNESSES." How can this answer be inferred hiven the information in the passage?

1 Reply

Melody on September 26, 2014

The conclusion of the argument is: "University Hospital could decrease its average length of stay without affecting quality of care."

Why? We are told that the average length of stay for patients at Edgewater Hospital is four days, compared to six days at University Hospital. And we know that the recovery rates at the two hospitals are similar for patients with similar illnesses.

The issue here is we don't know what kinds of diseases are being treated at both hospitals. It's true that we know that the recovery rates at the two hospitals are similar for patients with similar illnesses, but what if more patients with severe illnesses get treated at University Hospital than at Edgewater Hospital?

This would mean that more patients at University Hospital would need more time to recover than those at Edgewater Hospital. Thus, University Hospital's average length of stay for patients would be higher than Edgewater Hospital's.

For example, let's say each hospital had 100 patients. Edgewater Hospital could have 100 patients with mild skin rashes with an average recovery time of 4 days. University Hospital could have 2 patients with this same mild skin rash with an average recovery time of 4 days, but the rest of its 98 patients could have severe pneumonia, which requires at least 6 days recovery.

Thus, though both hospitals have similar recovery rates for patients with similar illnesses, University Hospital's average length of stay for patients is longer because its patients have more severe diseases than those at Edgewater Hospital, i.e. answer choice (C) "fails to take into account the possibility that patients at Edgewater Hospital tend to be treated for different illnesses than patients at University Hospital."

So, in this case, the conclusion would no longer follow since a decrease in its average length of stay would affect the quality of care at University Hospital.

Hope that clears thing up! Please let us know if you have any other questions.