Preventable Hospitalizations Decreases Over Decade

Related Story

JEFFERSON CITY - A new Missouri Hospital Association report shows Missouri has seen a 19% percent decrease in preventable hospitalizations over the last ten years. This means there has been one-fifth less preventable hospital visits throughout the decade. 

Preventable hospitalizations can range from acute illnesses to chronic illnesses that require long-term treatment. "Hospital care is obviously a very expensive way to deliver care when you could avoid that care through visiting your primary care physician," said Dave Dillon, a spokesperson for the Missouri Hospital Association, or MHA.

Dillon said these sort of hospitalizations may stem from financial struggles. "The problem historically with these admissions is that when you lack that primary care, you let your condition get bad enough that you have no alternative," said Dillon. He said said there isn't a clear cause for the decrease and it could be attributed to a variety of influences. 

Dillon said the reduction has saved Missourians more than $2 billion since 2003. While he said this is good progress, the Show Me State is still lagging behind other states for a variety of reasons. "Because Missourians are sicker, we have poverty, we have level of education being lower in some cases that other states, we have 800 thousand uninsured people that do not have access to primary care in many cases," said Dillon. "So we have a number of problems that make it difficult to continue to erode that number."

There is a simple message Dillon said people should know. "Primary care is best. When you don't need hospital care, when you need a physician in a doctor's office, that's what you should get."