Per person costs of potentially preventable hospitalizations
Hospitalizations contribute substantially to health care costs, with spending on hospital care reaching $1.3 trillion in 2020, accounting for 31.1% of overall health care spending—a growth of 6.4% from 2019. Potentially preventable hospitalizations are hospital visits that research suggests could have been avoided with better access to high-quality outpatient care, such as care provided in doctor's offices, clinics or other settings outside the hospital.
State Heath Compare presents national and state-level estimates of per person costs of potentially preventable hospitalizations using data from the Health Care Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). HCUP is a collection of national and state inpatient and emergency department databases developed through a Federal-State-Industry partnership and sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
Estimates are available for a number of years, but users should note that a break in data series occurred in 2016 due to a switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes.
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In a featured blog post, SHADAC researchers highlighted the unique data offered by State Health Compare as the only publicly accessible source of three state-level measures on potentially preventable hospitalizations (per person cost of potentially preventable hospitalizations, and rates of potentially preventable adult hospitalizations and child hospitalizations). Researchers also analyzed trends in each facet of preventable hospitalizations in 2015.
This research brief focuses on the state of California as a case study example for states in how to use data from the Health Care Utilization Project (HCUP)—including preventable hospitalizations—to understand the impacts of Medicaid expansion.