Revolving Door Of Readmissions and ED Visits More Extensive and Expensive

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , May 27, 2010

The report also isolated readmission rates by selected condition categories. For example, 35.1% of patients with hardening of the arteries (coronary atherosclerosis) had multiple inpatient stays over the two-year period while 20.8% of patients with asthma had multiple inpatient stays.

Of patients with diabetes, 30.3% had multiple inpatient stays while the average was 28.2% of patients with high blood pressure. Average number of inpatient stays per patient ranged between 1.4 (asthma) and 1.7 (coronary atherosclerosis).

Looking at the same patients, 21.5% of those with hardening of the arteries, 23.4% of those with hypertension, 23.6% of those with asthma, and 27.9% of those with simple diabetes (without complications) had multiple visits to the emergency department, with an average number of trips ranging between 1.4 and 1.6.

The database sorted patients by payer source. Medicare beneficiaries had the highest rate of readmissions as inpatients, but Medicaid had the highest number of emergency department visits.

The report was issued as part of AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project and covered Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. The readmission and emergency room utilization rates were not separated by state.

Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.

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