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High Rate Of Preventable Hospitalization In Baltimore

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The Baltimore City Health Department released a report by the RAND Corporation finding high rates of hospital admissions and emergency room visits for a variety of potentially preventable health conditions among city residents.

The report, Ambulatory Care Sensitive Hospitalizations and Emergency Department Visits in Baltimore City, was funded by the Aaron Straus & Lillie Straus Foundation.

The report finds:

• Baltimore's rate of potentially preventable hospitalization is substantially higher than surrounding counties and the District of Columbia;

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• Thousands of city residents suffer from such preventable conditions as asthma attacks, skin infections, and heart failure;

• The problem is concentrated in certain areas of the city, including West and East Baltimore; and

• Difficulty accessing primary care in Baltimore is a leading reason why people fall ill with preventable problems and need to be hospitalized.

In a letter to the Straus Foundation about the report, Commissioner of Health Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein wrote, "The reports' findings reflect a fundamental failure of our city's healthcare system."

To respond to the report, the Baltimore City Health Department and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will hold a public hearing this spring on access to outpatient care.