Context: Published rates of health care utilization and rehospitalization by people with sickle cell disease have had limited generalizability and are not population based.
Objective: To provide benchmark data for rates of acute care utilization and rehospitalizations for patients with sickle cell disease.
Design: Retrospective cohort of sickle cell disease-related emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations from select states in the 2005 and 2006 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) State Inpatient Databases and State Emergency Department Databases.
Setting: Eight geographically dispersed states (Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, South Carolina, and Tennessee) that provide encrypted identifiers and have sufficient numbers of patients with sickle cell disease; together these states have 33% of the US population with sickle cell disease.
Patients: A total of 21,112 patients with sickle cell-related treat-and-release ED visits or inpatient hospitalizations.
Main outcome measures: Rates of acute care utilization and rehospitalizations. Population-based utilization rates were also calculated.
Results: The 21,112 people with sickle cell disease had 109,344 encounters, a mean of 2.59 (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.53-2.65) encounters per patient per year, 1.52 (95% CI, 1.48-1.55) encounters for hospitalizations and 1.08 (95% CI, 1.04-1.11) for treat-and-release ED visits. Utilization was highest for 18- to 30-year-olds, 3.61 (95% CI, 3.47-3.75) encounters per patient per year, and those with public insurance, 3.22 (95% CI, 3.13-3.31) encounters per patient per year. Publicly insured 18- to 30-year-olds had 4.80 (95% CI, 4.58-5.02) encounters per patient per year. Approximately 29% of the population had no encounters while 16.9% had 3 or more encounters per year. The 30-day and 14-day rehospitalization rates were 33.4% (95% CI, 33.0%-33.8%) and 22.1% (95% CI, 21.8%-22.4%), respectively. The rehospitalization rate was highest for 18- to 30-year-olds, with 41.1% (95% CI, 40.5%-41.7%) rehospitalized within 30 days and 28.4% (95% CI, 27.8%-29.0%) within 14 days. Rehospitalizations were also highest for publicly insured patients.
Conclusion: Among patients with sickle cell disease, acute care encounters and rehospitalizations were frequent, particularly for 18- to 30-year-olds.