When patients leave a health care facility, everyone hopes it will be for the last time, as they go on to lead a healthy life. But for some African Americans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), their return visits might necessitate a revolving door.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports readmissions among African American COPD patients age 40 and older are 30% higher than other minority groups, and 9% higher than Caucasians, where patients were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of treatment.

Analyzing data from 2008*, the AHRQ also found 7% of those readmissions were directly related to COPD, while 21% were all-cause readmissions. Other notable discrepancies include 22% higher readmissions among patients from poor communities when compared with their affluent counterparts, and 13% higher readmissions among males when compared to females. Economically, the surveyed COPD initial admissions cost an average $7,100; readmissions were 18% higher, at $8,400. And averaging $11,100, all-cause readmissions cost twice as much as initial admissions.

* These statistics were published in a recent AHRQ News and Numbers summary, based on a statistic brief drawing data from the State Inpatient Databases for the following 15 states: Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. Visit www.ahrq.govfor more information.

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