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AHRQ Stats: Impact of the Onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Older Adult Hospitalizations

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As the COVID-19 pandemic set in—from April to September 2020—there were 16 percent fewer hospitalizations for adults age 65 and older in 13 states compared with the same period in the four prior years. However, there were 30 percent more in-hospital deaths among patients in this age group.

This Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Statistical Brief – Changes in Hospitalizations and In-Hospital Deaths for Adults Aged 65 Years and Older in the Initial Period of the COVID-19 Pandemic (April-September 2020), 13 States – presents data from 13 States on hospitalizations across time periods with a focus on the initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of hospitalizations and in-hospital deaths for patients aged 65 years and older is presented overall and by patient characteristics across 13 States from April to September 2020 using quarterly HCUP inpatient data compared with State-level averages from April to September in 2016-2019 using the HCUP State Inpatient Databases (SID). The percentages of all hospitalizations and in-hospital deaths related to COVID-19 during the April-September 2020 timeframe are also provided.

This analysis is limited to discharges for adults aged 65 years and older treated in community, nonrehabilitation hospitals in 13 States (Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, and Vermont) for which HCUP data were available for April-September 2016-2019 and April-September 2020. These States account for 24.7 percent of the resident U.S. population in 2019. Information contained in this Statistical Brief was primarily obtained from the HCUP Summary Trend Tables. The Summary Trend Tables, accessed as downloadable tables, provide State-specific monthly trends in hospital utilization for the most recent HCUP data available.

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