The Magnitude, Variation, and Determinants of Rural Hospital Resource Utilization Associated With Hospitalizations Due to Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions

  • Chen L
  • Zhang W
  • Sun J
 et al. 
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Using data from the 2002 Nationwide Inpatient Sample of U the Healthcare
Cost and Utilization Project, we examined the magnitude, variation, and
determinants of rural hospital resource utilization associated with
hospitalizations due to ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSCs). An
estimated $9.5 billion in charges incurred in rural hospitals
nationwide in 2002 was found to be associated with hospitalizations due
to ACSCs. Our findings suggest that the smaller a rural hospital, the
greater the portion of its financial resources used to treat patients
with ACSC. Regional variation in ACSC-related hospital charges is
generally consistent with the geographic variation in the population's
economic status and primary care physician supply-residents of the South
region have the poorest access to primary healthcare. In summary,
smaller rural communities spend more of their healthcare resources on
avoidable hospital inpatient care than do larger rural communities,
leaving smaller rural communities potentially fewer resources to spend
on preventive and primary healthcare. Health intervention programs and
health policies should be designed to increase access to and utilization
of appropriate preventive and primary healthcare in rural areas,
especially in small and remote communities.

Author-supplied keywords

  • community health planning and resource allocation;

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  • Li-Wu Chen

  • Wanqing Zhang

  • Junfeng Sun

  • Keith J Mueller

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