Behavioral Health and Readmissions in Massachusetts Acute Care Hospitals
Based on the hospital inpatient discharge data for SFY 2017, CHIA's research, published in October 2019, found that there was a high prevalence of behavioral health comorbidities among hospitalized adults in Massachusetts acute care hospitals. The readmission rate for patients with behavioral health comorbidities was substantially higher than for patients without any behavioral health comorbidity.
This report's findings suggest that policymakers, patients, families, and others in the health care community should be more aware of the increased readmission risk of any hospitalized patients with a behavioral health comorbidity, and efforts to reduce avoidable readmissions should include identifying risk factors associated with this group.
The accompanying databook to this publication contains additional information, while the technical appendix provides technical details related to data sources, categorization, and analysis.
- Forty-five percent (45%) of adults hospitalized in Massachusetts acute care hospitals had at least one comorbid behavioral health condition in State Fiscal Year 2017. Among hospitalized Medicaid adults, the prevalence of comorbid behavioral health conditions was sixty-three percent (63%).
- The majority (69%) of patients with comorbid substance use disorders only were under age 65. In contrast, more than half of patients with comorbid mental health conditions only (53%) were elderly patients aged 65 years or older.
- The comorbid mental health conditions with the highest prevalence were mood disorders and anxiety disorders, at 26% each. The comorbid substance use disorders with the highest prevalence were alcohol- and opioid-related disorders, at 9% and 6%, respectively.
- Readmission rates for patients with any behavioral health comorbidity were nearly double the readmission rates for patients without a comorbid behavioral health condition (21.1% vs. 10.8%).
- Among patients discharged with heart failure—the most commonly targeted medical diagnosis for readmission reduction efforts —the presence of comorbid behavioral health conditions was associated with a readmission rate that was 55% higher than for heart failure patients with no behavioral health comorbidity (30.0% vs. 19.4%).
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See Main Hospital Readmissions Web Page