FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
January 11, 2010 Contact: William Gerrish
Hartford – According to a report issued today by the Department of Public Health Office of Health Care Access, on average, eleven percent of hospitalizations at Connecticut acute care general hospitals may have been prevented.
The preventable hospitalizations described in the report, Preventable Hospitalizations in Connecticut: A Current Assessment of Community Health Services, identify possible gaps in the primary care health system; disease management by both providers and patients; or access to health services that lead to increased disease severity and hospitalization.
“The report provides a retrospective look into the number of patients that utilized inpatient hospital services to then make assumptions regarding opportunities to improve the health status of our population and lower costs through enhanced primary care infrastructure, disease management programs and increased access to preventive care,” stated Deputy Commissioner Cristine Vogel, M.P.H. “While Connecticut fared better than the nation, this study has identified age, race and geographic disparities that targeted interventions may help to eliminate.”
In 2008, there were over 47,000 preventable hospitalizations accounting for over 255,000 patient days and nearly $1.2 billion in total charges. Those patients utilized relatively more health care resources within the hospital and after discharge than other patients. Despite the slight decline in overall volume over five years, minorities, uninsured, Medicaid enrollees and working age adults experienced significant increases.
Residents of New Haven County have the highest per capita rates for 12 of the 19 conditions measured. The 19 ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSC) studied included pneumonia, congestive heart failure, adult and pediatric asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes-related conditions and low birth weight babies. Generally, Connecticut fared better than the nation except in the area of bacterial pneumonia and low birth weight newborns.
This study of preventable hospitalizations utilized version 4.0 of the Prevention Quality Indicators (PQI) tool, which is a national standard developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) clinical experts. The PQI tool consists of 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.
This study updates a 2008 report, which used a previous version of AHRQ’s PQI tool to study 19 conditions. For a complete report, click on Preventable Hospitalizations in Connecticut: A Current Assessment of Community Health Services.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at www.ct.gov/dph or call (860) 509-7270.