Increase Of Avoidable Hospitalizations In Washington

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Avoidable Hospitalizations

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The rate of avoidable hospitalizations in Washington, D.C., increasedfrom 39.1 per 1,000 adults ages 40 to 64 in 2004 to 43.4 in 2006, andfrom 8.9 per 1,000 children younger than age 18 to 12.1 during the sameperiod, according to a report released Thursday by RAND, the Washington Post reports. The report, which involved all district hospitals, was presented at the annual meeting of the District of Columbia Primary Care Association. District interim Health Director Carlos Cano said, "It's very difficult to pin down why it's happening."

Healthofficials said the number of avoidable hospitalizations began toincrease in 2005, mostly as a result of skin infections involving anantibiotic-resistant staph bacteria. However, the Postreports that the 2006 data "suggest that far more is to blame,"including an overloaded primary care system, overcrowded emergencydepartments, potentially sicker patients and higher rates of asthmaamong children in certain areas of the district.

RAND forseveral years has been studying the district's health care needs andhow they relate to chronic disease, low-income residents and hospitaluse. The data will be added to a $1.5 million study commissioned by thedistrict Council, which will be used to determine how to allocate $116million in tobacco settlement funds (Levine, Washington Post, 10/26).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily HealthPolicy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The HenryJ. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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