253545 Disparities in potentially avoidable hospital care: Emergency department visits for ambulatory care sensitive conditions

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pamela Jo Johnson, MPH, PhD , Center for Healthcare Innovation, Allina Hospitals & Clinics, Minneapolis, MN
Neha S. Ghildayal, BSB , Center for Healthcare Innovation, Allina Hospitals & Clinics, Minneapolis, MN
Andrew C. Ward, MPH, PhD , Division of Health Policy & Management, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Lori Boland, MPH , Center for Healthcare Innovation, Allina Hospitals & Clinics, Minneapolis, MN
Jon Hokanson, MD, FACEP , Emergency Care Consultants, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis, MN
Background: Hospital care for ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSC) is potentially avoidable and often viewed as an indicator of suboptimal primary care. Studies of disparities in hospital care for ACSC typically use inpatient hospital data. However, hospital care for ACSC also occurs in emergency department (ED) settings. Analysis of ED data provides a more complete understanding of hospital care for ACSC. Methods: Data for 42,108 ED visits by adults ages 18 to 64 were obtained from the 2007/2008 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. Outcomes were ACSC visits (operationalized as all-cause, acute/chronic, cause-specific) determined from the primary ED diagnosis. Disparity groups were defined by individual, geographic, and neighborhood level factors. Design-based F-tests were used to test differences in ACSC rates. Multivariate logistic regression was used to estimate the odds of all-cause, acute, and chronic ACSC visits. Analyses were conducted with Stata and accounted for the complex survey design. Results: Overall, 8.2% of ED visits were for ACSC, representing nearly 6 million potentially avoidable ED visits annually. ACSC visits were more likely to be made by patients who were female, older, publicly insured, and from socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods. In multivariate models, significant differences in ACSC visits occurred across several disparity domains, although the magnitude depended on the outcome variable examined. Conclusions: Disparities in potentially avoidable hospital care exist especially for chronic ACSC, suggesting gaps in chronic disease management being bridged by ED care. Identifying determinants of ED visits for ACSC may reduce avoidable hospital care, mitigate healthcare disparities, and lower costs.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Describe patterns of disparity in ED visits for ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSC). Assess the burden of ED care for ACSC in the US. Discuss avenues for future research to identify mechanisms giving rise to ACSC.

Keywords: Emergency Department/Room, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a health services epidemiologist who has studied disparities in health and healthcare for over 10 years, and I have published extensively on methodological issues in health disparities research. I currently work in a healthcare delivery system where we are explicitly studying potentially avoidable hospital care, including ED visits, hospitalization, and hospital readmission.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.