Many Hospital Patients Readmitted Within Two Years

Often, those with coronary atherosclerosis, diabetes readmitted for same conditions
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) -- Approximately 25 percent of hospital patients were readmitted to the hospital within a two-year period for the same conditions that prompted their initial admission, according to a recent report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

For the report, Claudia Steiner, M.D., of the AHRQ in Rockville, Md., and colleagues analyzed data on 15 million patients in 12 states in 2006 and 2007. They found that more than 33 percent of patients with coronary atherosclerosis were readmitted at least once during the two-year period. Furthermore, 30.3 percent of patients with uncomplicated diabetes, 28.2 percent with hypertension, and 20.8 percent with asthma were readmitted to the hospital multiple times.

The researchers also found that 41.8 percent of Medicare patients experienced multiple hospital admissions and 38.4 percent of Medicare patients experienced multiple emergency department visits. Among uninsured patients, 21.8 percent experienced multiple hospital readmissions and 38.0 percent had multiple emergency department visits without hospital admission. However, patients with private insurance were the least likely to require multiple hospital readmissions or make multiple emergency department visits (18.9 and 28.8 percent, respectively).

"Reducing hospital readmission rates is a key strategy for increasing the quality of health care, while reducing the cost of care," the authors write. "Patients may be readmitted to the hospital due to the severity and complexity of their underlying condition. However, research indicates that a large number of repeat hospital visits may be avoidable."

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