The importance of chronic conditions for potentially avoidable hospitalizations among non-Hispanic Black and non-Hispanic White older adults in the US: a cross-sectional observational study

Terese Sara Høj Jørgensen, Heather Allore, Miriam R. Elman, Corey Nagel, Ana R. Quiñones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Non-Hispanic (NH) Black older adults experience substantially higher rates of potentially avoidable hospitalization compared to NH White older adults. This study explores the top three chronic conditions preceding hospitalization and potentially avoidable hospitalization among NH White and NH Black Medicare beneficiaries in the United States. Methods: Data on 4993 individuals (4,420 NH White and 573 NH Black individuals) aged ≥ 65 years from 2014 Medicare claims were linked with sociodemographic data from previous rounds of the Health and Retirement Study. Conditional inference random forests were used to rank the importance of chronic conditions in predicting hospitalization and potentially avoidable hospitalization separately for NH White and NH Black beneficiaries. Multivariable logistic regression with the top three chronic diseases for each outcome adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics were conducted to quantify the associations. Results: In total, 22.1% of NH White and 24.9% of NH Black beneficiaries had at least one hospitalization during 2014. Among those with hospitalization, 21.3% of NH White and 29.6% of NH Black beneficiaries experienced at least one potentially avoidable hospitalization. For hospitalizations, chronic kidney disease, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation were the top three contributors among NH White beneficiaries and acute myocardial infarction, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and chronic kidney disease were the top three contributors among NH Black beneficiaries. These chronic conditions were associated with increased odds of hospitalization for both groups. For potentially avoidable hospitalizations, asthma, COPD, and heart failure were the top three contributors among NH White beneficiaries and fibromyalgia/chronic pain/fatigue, COPD, and asthma were the top three contributors among NH Black beneficiaries. COPD and heart failure were associated with increased odds of potentially avoidable hospitalization among NH White beneficiaries, whereas only COPD was associated with increased odds of potentially avoidable hospitalizations among NH Black beneficiaries. Conclusion: Having at least one hospitalization and at least one potentially avoidable hospitalization was more prevalent among NH Black than NH White Medicare beneficiaries. This suggests greater opportunity for increasing prevention efforts among NH Black beneficiaries. The importance of COPD for potentially avoidable hospitalizations further highlights the need to focus on prevention of exacerbations for patients with COPD, possibly through greater access to primary care and continuity of care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number468
JournalBMC health services research
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Chronic conditions
  • Machine learning methods
  • Potentially avoidable hospitalizations
  • Race/ethnicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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