For 1 in 10 Medicaid patients, it's back to the hospital in a month

Research Activities, June 2010, No. 358

One of every 10 adult Medicaid patients who were hospitalized in 2007 for a medical condition other than childbirth had to be readmitted at least once within 30 days of their initial hospital stay that year, according to the latest data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). These Medicaid patients were 70 percent more likely to be readmitted at least once within 30 days than their privately insured counterparts. AHRQ's data analysis also found that the number of underlying health problems Medicaid patients had increased their likelihood of readmission. For example, 14 percent of Medicaid patients with three or more underlying health problems were readmitted within 30 days of their previous hospital stay compared with 10 percent of those who had no health problems other than the one for which they were admitted.

The highest hospital readmission rates among Medicaid patients were for:

  • HIV/AIDS (17 percent).
  • Blood-related disorders (14 percent).
  • Alcohol or substance abuse (13 percent).
  • Kidney and urinary tract disorders (12 percent).
  • Gall bladder, liver, and pancreatic problems (12 percent).
  • Mental disorders (12 percent).
  • Infections (12 percent).
  • Respiratory disorders (11 percent).
  • Diabetes and related metabolic problems (11 percent).

High hospital readmission rates have been drawing increasing attention from policymakers because they may reflect issues with the health care provided in the hospitals or lack of discharge planning and outpatient followup. Hospital readmissions also have the potential to drive up health care costs.

These findings are based on data in All-Cause Hospital Readmission Rates among Non-Elderly Medicaid Patients, 2007. The report uses statistics from the 2007 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

Current as of June 2010
Internet Citation: For 1 in 10 Medicaid patients, it's back to the hospital in a month: Research Activities, June 2010, No. 358. June 2010. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/jun10/0610RA28.html