Health & Medicine

Sacramento sees high rate of emergency room visits

Sacramento County ranked low in California’sgeneral hospital readmission and inpatient bed day rates. About 10 percent of patients were readmitted to the hospital after an initial stay, regardless of cause.
Sacramento County ranked low in California’sgeneral hospital readmission and inpatient bed day rates. About 10 percent of patients were readmitted to the hospital after an initial stay, regardless of cause. Sacramento Bee file

Sacramento County ranks poorly among California counties in hospital readmissions and the number of emergency admissions while faring well in colon cancer screenings, mammograms and diabetes treatment, found a new study by a nonprofit health care advocacy group.

The Integrated Healthcare Association, or IHA, also found underutilization in Sacramento’s health resources compared with counties across California in the study issued July 31.

IHA’s Dolores Yanagihara said the region’s older population helped explain the number of readmissions as well as longer inpatient bed day rates.

“Sometimes patients aren’t discharged when they optimally could have been, or are readmitted, due to a lack of smooth coordination on the part of the hospital staff,” she said.

Sacramento County placed in California’s bottom 10th percentile in general hospital readmission and inpatient bed day rates. About 10 percent of patients were readmitted to the hospital after an initial stay, regardless of cause.

Emergency room visits, whether planned or not, were relatively high in Sacramento, at an average rate of 290 of every 1,000 patients yearly. Statewide, 228 out of every 1,000 patients made emergency room visits.

“Often whether or not someone will go to the emergency department relies on a combination of a county’s availability of emergency departments and how accessible care is,” Yanagihara said. “If people are able to get into their doctor when they need to – perhaps after hours, during emergency hours, or on the weekend – this might drive the (emergency department visit) rate down, and vice versa.”

On the bright side, Sacramento County ranked at 70.8 percent for the rate of adults ages 50- to 75-years-old who went in for colon cancer screenings.

Similarly, Sacramento ranked relatively high in women ages 50 to 74 who had one or more mammograms within the survey’s time frame, as well as for members with diabetes who received care for their condition.

HEDIS By Geography – an online tool created by IHA, in conjunction with the California HealthCare Foundation and 11 California health care providers – presents a breakdown of health care on a region-by-region, county-by-county basis.

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