Racial, Income, and Marital Status Disparities in Hospital Readmissions Within a Veterans Integrated Health Care Network

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hospital readmissions, veterans, Poisson regression, rehospitalizations, racial disparities, demographic disparities


Hospital readmission is an important indicator of health care quality and currently used in determining hospital reimbursement rates by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Given the important policy implications, a better understanding of factors that influence readmission rates is needed. Racial disparities in readmission have been extensively studied, but income and marital status (a postdischarge care support indicator) disparities have received limited attention. By employing three Poisson regression models controlling for different confounders on 8,718 patients in a veterans-integrated health care network, this study assessed racial, income, and martial disparities in relation to total number of readmissions. In contrast to other studies, no racial and income disparities were found, but unmarried patients experienced significantly more readmissions: 16%, after controlling for the confounders. These findings render unique insight into health care policies aimed to improve race and income disparities, while challenging policy makers to reduce readmissions for those who lack family support.

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Evaluation and the Health Professions