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VOLUME 51 | NUMBER 3 | JUNE 2016


Hospital Readmission Rates in U.S. States: Are Readmissions Higher Where More Patients with Multiple Chronic Conditions Cluster?

Objective: This study examines small area variations in readmission rates to assess whether higher readmission rate in an area is associated with higher clusters of patients with multiple chronic conditions.

Study Design: The study uses hospital discharge data of adult (18+) patients in 6 U.S. states for 2009 from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, linked to contextual and provider data from Health Resources and Services Administration. A multivariate cross sectional design at primary care service area (PCSA) level is used.

Principal Findings: Adjusting for area characteristics, the readmission rates were significantly higher in PCSAs having higher proportions of patients with 2–3 chronic conditions and those with 4+ chronic conditions, compared with areas with a higher concentration of patients with 0–1 chronic conditions.

Conclusions: Using small area analysis, the study shows that areas with higher concentration of patients with increased comorbid conditions are more likely to have higher readmission rates.

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