Introduction Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a major public health problem in the United States and is a leading cause of hospitalization in the elderly population. Understanding the health care travel patterns of CHF patients and their underlying cause is important to balance the supply and demand for local hospital resources. This article explores the nonclinical factors that prompt CHF patients to seek distant instead of local hospitalization. Methods Local hospitalization was defined as inpatients staying within hospital service areas, and distant hospitalization was defined as inpatients traveling outside hospital service areas, based on individual hospital discharge data in 2011 generated by a Dartmouth-Swiss hybrid approach. Multiple logistic and linear regression models were used to compare the travel patterns of different groups of inpatients in Florida. Results Black patients, no-charge patients, patients living in large metropolitan areas, and patients with a low socioeconomic status were more likely to seek local hospitalization than were white patients, those who were privately insured, those who lived in rural areas, and those with a high socioeconomic status, respectively. Conclusion Findings indicate that different populations diagnosed with CHF had different travel patterns for hospitalization. Changes or disruptions in local hospital supply could differentially affect different groups in a population. Policy makers could target efforts to CHF patients who are less likely to travel to seek treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health