Homelessness linked to higher rates of hospital readmission

Person in a wheelchair

Homeless people are more likely to be admitted to a hospital within 30 days after discharge for circulatory system diseases and other conditions, according to a NHLBI-funded study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Previous research found that homeless people have higher rates of hospitalization, but it was unclear whether they had higher readmission rates than the general population. To look at readmission rates, the investigators analyzed administrative claims data from 2010-2015 for three states: Florida, Massachusetts, and New York.

For all three states, the combined 30-day homeless readmission rate was 17.3% compared with 14% among housed individuals. Homeless people had higher rates of readmission for diseases of the circulatory system, mental illness, and diseases of the digestive system.

Florida had the highest 30-day homeless readmission rate at 30.4% compared with 19.3% for housed individuals. New York had the lowest at 15.7% vs. 13.4% for housed individuals. The researchers say the difference in readmission rates across states can likely be attributed to differences in state homeless policies and programs.