Page 1 of 1

Hospitalizations for asthma, diabetes, and other conditions are much higher among the poor

Research Activities, July 2009, No. 347

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 data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Hospitalizations for asthma and diabetes are potentially preventable, 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; congestive heart failure, 51 percent; skin infections, 49 percent; and dehydration, 38 percent.
  • Patients from the poorest communities were more likely to be admitted for severe blood infection, stroke, and depression.
  • Hospitalized Americans from the poorest communities were 80 percent more likely to receive hemodialysis for kidney failure, and they were 81 percent more likely to undergo procedures often done on an outpatient basis, such as eye and ear procedures.

These findings are based on data in Hospital Stays among People Living in the Poorest Communities, 2006, Statistical Brief #73 (http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb73.jsp). 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.

Current as of July 2009
Internet Citation: Hospitalizations for asthma, diabetes, and other conditions are much higher among the poor: Research Activities, July 2009, No. 347. July 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/news/research-activities/jul09/0709RA44.html