This was shown by a new report by United States Department of Health and Human Services´ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). This study presents the first documentation of the full impact of mental health and substance abuse disorders on U.S. community hospitals.
According to the report, which looked at patients age 18 and older, 7.6 million of nearly 32 million stays were for these reasons. About 1.9 million of the 7.6 million stays were for patients who were hospitalized primarily because of a mental health or substance abuse problem. In the other 5.7 million stays, patients were admitted for another condition but they also were diagnosed as having a mental health or substance abuse disorder.
Nearly two-thirds of costs were billed to the government: Medicare covered nearly half of the stays, and 18 percent were billed to Medicaid. Roughly 8 percent of the patients were uninsured. Private insurers were billed for the balance. The study also found that one of every three stays of uninsured patients was related to a mental health or substance abuse disorder.
AHRQ found that most patients with mental health and substance abuse disorders were older. For example, although people age 80 and older comprised only 5 percent of the U.S. population in 2004, they accounted for nearly 21 percent of all hospital stays for these conditions – principally for dementia. There were also gender differences. The most frequent admitting diagnosis for women was mood disorders, while that for men was substance abuse.
AHRQ also found that patients who have been diagnosed with both a mental health condition and a substance abuse disorder – those with “dual diagnoses” – accounted for 1 million of the nearly 8 million stays. Nearly half of these cases with dual diagnoses involved drug abuse, a third involved alcohol abuse, and one in five involved both drug and alcohol abuse.
MEDICA.de; Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality