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Rich/Poor Divide Linked to Hospital Readmissions in Study
Date:2/15/2013

harged from the hospital. This was true for all three conditions.

For patients who had a heart attack or heart failure, the risk for readmission increased 1.5 percent. Those with pneumonia had a 1.4 percent higher risk. The researchers estimated this would amount to over 7,000 more readmissions for heart attack, nearly 18,000 more readmissions for heart failure and about 14,000 extra readmissions for pneumonia over three years.

It remains unclear why the investigators found no link between income inequality and the risk of death. They suggested in their report that over a 30-day period, "readmission is more sensitive to social conditions than is mortality, and that an effect on mortality might have been observed had we extended the period of observation to one year."

While the study found an association between distribution of wealth within a society and hospital readmissions, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

More research is needed to explain the findings, the authors pointed out in a journal news release.

More information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more about reducing unnecessary hospital readmissions.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: BMJ, news release, Feb. 14, 2013


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