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AHRQ Briefs Probe Issue of Hospital Readmissions for Psychiatric Conditions

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Two new briefs from AHRQ examine the issue of readmissions for psychiatric hospitalization. A statistical brief from AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project found that 30-day readmission rates in 2012 were 15.7 percent when the primary diagnosis was schizophrenia and 9 percent when the primary diagnosis involved mood disorders. This compares with a 30-day readmission rate of 3.8 percent for all other non-mental health/substance abuse conditions. Meanwhile, a technical brief from AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program found that the availability and implementation of strategies to reduce hospital readmissions for psychiatric conditions vary widely and that these readmissions are probably undercounted. It concluded that more research is needed to determine which strategies work best to reduce readmissions for psychiatric conditions, ways to accurately measure the most meaningful outcomes and the best ways to apply effective strategies in settings with varying resources. In 2012, nearly one quarter of U.S. adults experienced some form of mental or substance use disorder.

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