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


April 17, 2008


HartfordThere were nearly 48,000 hospitalizations of Connecticut residents in 2006 that could have possibly been prevented, according to a report released today by the Office of Health Care Access (OHCA).  Preventable hospitalizations are defined as instances of inpatient hospital care for ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSCs) that are considered “preventable” because timely and effective primary care and medical management have been clinically demonstrated to reduce the need for hospitalization. Preventable hospitalization volume may identify possible gaps in the primary care health system, disease management (both by provider and patient) and access to health services, all of which may lead to increased disease severity and ultimately, hospitalization.


Within Connecticut in FY 2006, New Haven County had the highest per capita rates for 12 of the 19 ACSCs that are measured, with a particularly higher than state average for pediatric and adult hospitalizations for asthma.  Hartford County’s rates largely mirrored the statewide averages, but had eight higher than state averages.  Hartford County did, however, have the highest incidence of low birth weight newborns in the state.  OHCA’s 2008 Preventable Hospitalizations in Connecticut databook reported inpatient hospital charges of over $1 billion associated with these hospitalizations.  Nearly 60% of these patients were covered by Medicare and 20% were privately insured. 


OHCA Commissioner Cristine Vogel, M.P.H. said, “Reports such as this one further indicate an opportunity to improve the health status of our population by improving the infrastructure of Connecticut’s primary care system to increase access to preventative medicine.”   While Connecticut fared better than the nation, OHCA’s study identified certain age, race and geographic disparities within the state. “Addressing these disparities and the cost of preventable hospitalizations are challenges faced by local and state authorities and health care providers,” Commissioner Vogel stated.


OHCA’s study of preventable hospitalizations utilized the Prevention Quality Indicators (PQI) tool, a national standard developed by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) clinical experts. PQIs are a set of measures that can be used with hospital discharge data to identify potentially avoidable hospital admissions that could be effectively treated in the community-based primary care system.  The 19 ACSC conditions OHCA studied included pneumonia, congestive heart failure, adult and pediatric asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes-related conditions and low birth weight babies.


This study updates OHCA’s 2005 report, which used a previous version of AHRQ’s PQI tool to study 16 conditions.


For a complete report, visit OHCA’s web site