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New report examines hospitalizations for potentially preventable health conditions

July 24, 2017

The Office of Financial Management’s Health Care Research Center is pleased to announce the release of a new research brief, “Potentially Preventable Hospitalizations by Legislative District.

This report examines hospitalizations for eleven conditions that, in theory, would not have required inpatient care if the patients had had timely access to primary or secondary care services such as vaccinations, antibiotics, regular physician office visits, etc.

Although the southwest sector of the state and the south Puget Sound region, in general, had high rates for these conditions, the 29th and the 27th legislative districts—which include Tacoma and those communities south to Lakewood—stand out. For nine of the eleven conditions assessed, the rates in the 29th were the highest in the state while the rates in the 27th were commonly second highest.

Districts in the northern Puget Sound region—which include Bellevue, Kirkland, Laurelhurst and Redmond—had the lowest rates.

Rural districts in eastern and north central Washington also commonly had low rates; however, the 3rd district—which includes the city of Spokane—stood out because of its consistently high rates.

The data used in this analysis were from 2013-15 and included discharges from all community hospitals in Washington and Oregon. We selected only those patients from Washington state and, by using their ZIP code of residence, identified the districts where they lived in order to compute district-specific age-adjusted rates. We used software from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in selecting those hospitalizations considered potentially preventable.

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