Preventable hospitalizations and socioeconomic status

Jan Blustein, Karla Hanson, Steven Shea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


"Preventable" hospitalizations have been proposed as indicators of poor health plan performance. In this study of elderly Medicare beneficiaries, however, we found that preventable hospitalizations are also more common among elders of lower socioeconomic status (SES). The relationship persisted even when an up-to-date severity-of-illness adjustment system was used. To the extent that indicators of health plan "performance" reflect enrollees' characteristics, plans will be rewarded for marketing their services to wealthier, healthier, and better-educated patients. Further work is needed to clarify issues of accountability for preventable hospitalizations and other putative indices of health plan performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-189
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Affairs
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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