OBJECTIVES: We investigated whether patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease could safely receive noninvasive ventilation outside of the ICU.DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.SETTING: Twelve states with ICU utilization flag from the State Inpatient Database from 2014.PATIENTS: Patients greater than or equal to 18 years old with primary diagnosis of acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and secondary diagnosis of respiratory failure who received noninvasive ventilation.INTERVENTIONS: None.MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Multilevel logistic regression models were used to obtain hospital-level ICU utilization rates. We risk-adjusted using both patient/hospital characteristics. The primary outcome was in-hospital mortality; secondary outcomes were invasive monitoring (arterial/central catheters), hospital length of stay, and cost. We examined 5,081 hospitalizations from 424 hospitals with ICU utilization ranging from 0.05 to 0.98. The overall median in-hospital mortality was 2.62% (interquartile range, 1.72-3.88%). ICU utilization was not significantly associated with in-hospital mortality (β = 0.01; p = 0.05) or length of stay (β = 0.18; p = 0.41), which was confirmed by Spearman correlation (ρ = 0.06; p = 0.20 and ρ = 0.02; p = 0.64, respectively). However, lower ICU utilization was associated with lower rates of invasive monitor placement by linear regression (β = 0.05; p < 0.001) and Spearman correlation (ρ = 0.28; p < 0.001). Lower ICU utilization was also associated with significantly lower cost by linear regression (β = 14.91; p = 0.02) but not by Spearman correlation (ρ = 0.09; p = 0.07).CONCLUSIONS: There is wide variability in the rate of ICU utilization for noninvasive ventilation across hospitals. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients receiving noninvasive ventilation had similar in-hospital mortality across the ICU utilization spectrum but a lower rate of receiving invasive monitors and probably lower cost when treated in lower ICU-utilizing hospitals. Although the results suggest that noninvasive ventilation can be delivered safely outside of the ICU, we advocate for hospital-specific risk assessment if a hospital were considering changing its noninvasive ventilation delivery policy.