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Readmissions To Calif. Hospitals Costing Billions

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Aired 5/18/10

A new study reveals one out of three patients who are hospitalized in California are readmitted within a year. Researchers at the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development say the phenomenon costs billions of dollars a year.

— A new study reveals one out of three patients who are hospitalized in California are readmitted within a year. Researchers at the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development say the phenomenon costs billions of dollars a year.

The report says people with chronic health problems like heart disease and emphysema are more likely to be readmitted to a hospital. Patients who are hospitalized for psychiatric conditions have the highest rate of readmission.

Dr. Michael Plopper is Chief Medical Officer with Sharp Behavioral Health Services. He says there just aren't enough supportive services for patients.

"We have very few resources when we're discharging patients from psychiatric hospitals, in terms of outpatient care or immediate access to medications. And that's being further reduced," he said.

Researchers say hospital readmissions account for nearly half of all Medi-Cal hospital costs. The report shows people on Medi-Cal and Medicare are readmitted more frequently than patients with private insurance.

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