Hospitalization of the Poor Much Higher for Asthma, Diabetes, Other Potentially Preventable Diseases
AHRQ News and Numbers, May 27, 2009
Hospital admissions of Americans from the poorest communities for asthma and diabetes were 87 percent and 77 percent higher, respectively, than admissions for patients from wealthier areas for the same diseases, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
Asthma and diabetes are potentially preventable conditions because good outpatient care can help to prevent the need for hospitalization. Despite national efforts to eliminate health care disparities, low-income Americans continue to have higher hospital admission rates for asthma and many other conditions.
AHRQ's analysis found that compared to Americans from wealthier areas:
- Patients from the poorest communities were more likely to be hospitalized for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (69 percent higher); congestive heart failure (51 percent higher); skin infections (49 percent higher); and dehydration (38 percent higher).
- In addition, patients from the poorest communities were more likely to be admitted for severe blood infection, stroke, and depression.
- Furthermore, hospitalized Americans from the poorest communities were 80 percent more likely to receive hemodialysis for kidney failure, and they were more likely to undergo procedures often done on an outpatient basis, such as eye and ear procedures (81 percent more likely). Infants from poor areas were 47 percent more likely to be vaccinated for hepatitis B.
This AHRQ News and Numbers is based on data in Hospital Stays among People Living in the Poorest Communities, 2006. The report uses statistics from the 2006 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.
For other information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Bob Isquith at Bob.Isquith@ahrq.hhs.gov or call (301) 427-1539.