Reasons for Being Admitted to the Hospital through the Emergency Department, 2003

More HCUP Highlights, from Statistical Briefing #2

Circulatory disorders (diseases of the heart and blood vessels) were the most frequent reason for admission to the hospital through the ED, accounting for 26.3 percent of all such admissions; injuries accounted for 11.4 percent.

The top 20 specific conditions accounted for more than half of all hospital admissions through the ED, with pneumonia as the single most common specific condition at nearly one million (5.7 percent) of all such admissions.

Complications of procedures, devices, implants, and grafts ranked as the ninth most common reason for admission through the ED and included postoperative infections, malfunction of orthopedic devices, and infection of arteriovenous fistulas used for dialysis.

The top 20 specific conditions admitted through the ED included several chronic conditions: chronic obstructive lung disease, asthma, diabetes, and mood disorders. Also included were fluid and electrolyte disorders; urinary, skin, and blood infections; gall bladder disease, gastrointestinal bleeding, and appendicitis; and hip fracture.

While up to 82 percent of the most frequent acute conditions were admitted through the ED, a large percentage of chronic conditions were also admitted through the ED; for example, 72 percent of cases with conestive heart failure, chronic obstructive lung disease, and asthma were such admissions.

Highlights: Hospital Admissions That Began in the Emergency Department, 2003

From the HCUP project website, Statistical Brief #1

In 2003, 55 percent of 29.3 million hospitalizations (excluding pregnancy and childbirth) began in the ED.

Relative to the populations in each region, individuals in the Northeast were more likely to enter the hospital through the ED, while individuals in the Western states were less likely.

Government payers, Medicare and Medicaid, bear the greatest burden of hospital admissions through the ED, covering 66 percent of all admissions through the ED.

The mean cost for hospitalizations that began in the ED was $7,400.

The mean costs for hospitalizations that began in the ED were highest in the West ($8,500) compared to all other regions of the country ($7,200 or less).

The mean costs for hospitalizations that began in the ED were greatest for government payers.

The mean cost for uninsured stays that began in the ED was less than the cost of stays billed to Medicare and Medicaid but comparable to stays billed to private insurance.

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