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Four Million Hospital Admissions Potentially Unnecessary

AHRQ News and Numbers, November 3, 2010

AHRQ News and Numbers provides statistical highlights on the use and cost of health services and health insurance in the United States.

About 1 in 10 of the nearly 40 million hospitalizations in 2008 was potentially avoidable, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The admissions were for conditions such as diabetes, dehydration, and certain heart conditions and infections for which hospitalization can be avoided if treated with appropriate outpatient care.

Data from the Federal agency also found that:

  • Rural hospitals had nearly twice as many potentially preventable admissions than urban hospitals (16 percent versus 9 percent).
  • People from lower-income communities accounted for nearly one-third more potentially preventable hospital admissions than patients from higher-income communities (12 percent versus 8 percent).
  • Hospitals in the West had the fewest potentially preventable admissions (8 percent) while those in the South had the most (11 percent).
  • Patients age 65 and older accounted for 60 percent of the potentially preventable hospitalizations.

This AHRQ News and Numbers is based on data in Potentially Preventable Hospitalizations for Acute and Chronic Conditions, 2008. The report uses data from the 2008 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital 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 patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

For more information, contact Bob Isquith at (301-427-1539).

Current as of November 2010
Internet Citation: Four Million Hospital Admissions Potentially Unnecessary: AHRQ News and Numbers, November 3, 2010. November 2010. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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