STATE OF CONNECTICUT

Office of health care access

410 Capitol Avenue

Hartford, CT 06134

Phone (860) 418-7001

Fax (860) 418-7053

Press Release

Contact: Carolyn Treiss

Phone: (860) 418-7024

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 11, 2009

 

HOSPITAL PATIENTS MORE RELIANT ON

PUBLIC HEALTH COVERAGE

 

HartfordAccording to the newest publication released today by the Office of Health Care Access (OHCA), Health Care Trends in Connecticut, hospital patients are increasingly reliant on government sources of health care coverage. Medicare became the predominant coverage source for discharged acute care hospital patients beginning in Fiscal Year (FY) 2005, surpassing commercial insurance. A striking finding is that the number of commercially insured patients has dropped in every year, beginning with FY 2003, and that overall volume of commercially insured discharges has declined by approximately 4% from FY 2003 to FY 2007. During the same time period, hospitals experienced a 15% increase in Medicaid patients. Cristine Vogel, Commissioner of OHCA noted “This data supports the trend experienced by other states.”

 

The state's Emergency Departments (ED), a critical component of Connecticut's health care system, have experienced an 11% increase in patient volume from FY 2003 to FY 2007. EDs

recorded 1,563,836 visits in FY 2007, compared to 1,414,507 in FY 2003, a difference of nearly 150,000 additional encounters. The state’s ED utilization continues to be higher

 than the national rate. In 2006, the most recent year with comparable data available, the national ED utilization rate was 403 visits per 1,000 population, as compared to 426 per 1,000 in Connecticut.

 

Connecticut's 30 acute care hospitals had 9,256 licensed beds with approximately 7,020 staffed and available for inpatient use in FY 2007. Hospital discharges and patient days increased by 5% and 4%, respectively, between FY 2003 and FY 2007. Although overall statewide discharges have increased over the past five years, (from 408,775 in FY 2003 to 429,355 in FY 2007) not all hospitals have seen such increases. Day Kimball, New Milford and Rockville hospitals have reported negative utilization trends. Commissioner Vogel added that “In today’s challenging economy, declining hospitalizations directly impact revenue at a time when hospitals are having a difficult time meeting expenses.”

 

Additional utilization trends indicate that seniors (65+) were at least 3.5 times more likely to be hospitalized than adults (18-64) or children (<18). Minorities comprised 16% of Connecticut’s population, yet accounted for slightly more than one quarter of inpatient discharges. New Haven County continues to have the highest utilization rate in the state, even when population is factored in.

 

Childbirth and cardiovascular disease continued to be the two most common reasons for inpatient hospitalization. Consequently, hospital procedures related to births (circumcision, cesarean section and manually assisted delivery) and cardiovascular disease (angioplasty and catheterization) accounted for a significant portion of the primary procedures performed on inpatients.

 

A complete copy of this report can be found on OHCA's website at http://www.ct.gov/ohca