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1 in 4 Patients Undergoes Revolving-Door Hospitalizations

Improving outpatient care could cut down on multiple readmissions, study authors suggest

THURSDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- About one-quarter of all U.S. hospital patients are readmitted over a two-year period for the same conditions that led to their original hospitalization, a new study finds.

These revolving-door figures came from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which analyzed 2006-07 data on 15 million patients in 12 states. Among its findings:

  • More than one-third of patients with hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) were readmitted at least once to the hospital, along with 30 percent of patients with uncomplicated diabetes, 28 percent with high blood pressure, and 21 percent with asthma.
  • Among Medicare patients, 42 percent had multiple hospital admissions and 38 percent had multiple emergency department visits.
  • Among Medicaid patients, 23 percent experienced multiple hospital admissions and 50 percent had multiple emergency department visits.
  • Rates of hospital readmissions and multiple emergency department visits were 22 percent and 38 percent, respectively, for uninsured patients and 19 percent and 29 percent, respectively, for privately insured patients.

Although some patients do need to be readmitted, better outpatient care could prevent unnecessary repeat hospital admissions, which in turn can push up health care costs, according to the AHRQ.

The data in the study came from Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah.

More information

The AHRQ has more about health care quality.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, May 27, 2010, news release.

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