Many Hospitalizations Avoidable With Primary, Preventive Care
Hundreds of thousands of California adults could have avoided being hospitalized in 2009Â if they had better access to primary and preventive health care, according to data released by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, California Watch reports.
The data were based on a review of 2009 hospital discharges for 13 medical conditions considered readily treatable, such as dehydration and chest pains.
According to the data, 335,000 adult hospitalizations in 2009 could have been avoided if the patients had seen a physician sooner.
The figureÂ is more than the estimated 317,050 preventable hospitalizations in 2008 but less than the 399,113 preventable hospitalizations in 1999.
The data also show that rural counties experienced some of the highest five-year averages of preventable hospitalizations for several conditions, such as bacterial pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Those counties include:
- Del Norte;
- Glenn; and
- San Joaquin.
According to OSHPD, preventable hospitalizations are indicative of systemic shortcomings regarding quality primary care and access to care.
Michael Kassis -- a research specialist with OSHPD -- said, "There are people going into the hospital that probably shouldn't be if they were getting good primary care up front."
OSHPD noted that the preventable hospitalizations could have been prompted by environmental factors and patients' failure to follow medical treatment regimens (Yeung, California Watch, 2/20).
ÂThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.