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Preventable Hospitalizations
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Preventable Hospitalizations is a measure of the discharge rate of Medicare enrollees age 65-99 with full Part A entitlement and no HMO enrollment from hospitals for ambulatory care-sensitive conditions. Ambulatory care–sensitive conditions are those “for which good outpatient care can potentially prevent the need for hospitalization, or for which early intervention can prevent complications or more severe disease[1]." These conditions are based on ICD-9-CM diagnosis codes and include: convulsions, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bacterial pneumonia, asthma, congestive heart failure (CHF), hypertension, angina, cellulitis, diabetes, gastroenteritis, kidney/urinary infection and dehydration. Ranks are based on the most recently available data from the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care.  


Preventable hospitalizations reflect how efficiently a population uses the various healthcare delivery options for necessary care. Hospital care is expensive and makes up the largest component of health care spending in the U.S., totaling over $750 billion[2]. Preventable hospitalizations often occur as a result of a failure to treat conditions early in an outpatient setting due to limited availability.[3] These discharges are also highly correlated with general admissions and reflect the tendency for a population to overuse the hospital setting as a site for care. Preventable hospitalizations place a financial burden on heath care systems as they could have been avoided with earlier less costly interventions. Preventable hospitalizations are more common in those that are uninsured, which often leads to large unpaid medical bills[4].  

[1] Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. Prevention quality indicators overview.http://www.qualityindicators.ahrq.gov/. Updated 2003. Accessed August 3, 2012.

[2] The Kaiser Family Foundation. Trends in health care costs and spending. . 2009;7692-02.

[3] Billings J. Recent findings on preventable hospitalizations. Health Aff. 1996;15(3):239

[4] Weissman JS. Rates of avoidable hospitalization by insurance status in Massachusetts and Maryland. JAMA. 1992;268(17):2388.


IA Preventable Hospitalizations (2001-2013) see more
  • Discharge rate among the Medicare population for diagnoses that are amenable to non-hospital based care.

The measures tracked by America's Health Rankings are those actions that can affect the future health of the population. For a state to improve the health of its population, efforts must focus on these measures, these determinants of health.


State Changes
Over Time
Rank Value Take Action
2001 - Iowa graph 19 75.1 View Actions
2002 - Iowa graph 19 70.8 View Actions
2003 - Iowa graph 20 71.5 View Actions
2004 - Iowa graph 19 70.2 View Actions
2005 - Iowa graph 16 68.1 View Actions
2006 - Iowa graph 18 65.9 View Actions
2007 - Iowa graph 18 69.5 View Actions
2008 - Iowa graph 18 69.5 View Actions
2009 - Iowa graph 23 68.7 View Actions
2010 - Iowa graph 25 66.3 View Actions
2011 - Iowa graph 22 63.4 View Actions
2012 - Iowa graph 22 60.4 View Actions
  • 1990 - 2013
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