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A study of beneficiaries in traditional Medicare who were hospitalized between January 1, 2011 and September 30, 2015 with certain primary diagnoses (stroke, hip or femur fracture without joint replacement, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, or pneumonia) finds that beneficiaries in rural communities fared differently than those from urban areas. Beneficiaries from rural areas were:

  • More likely to be discharged to a skilled nursing facility or to home, without services;
  • Less likely to be discharged to home health care or an inpatient rehabilitation hospital;
  • Less likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days after discharge or within 90 days after discharge; and
  • More likely to die within 30 days of hospital discharge, within 90 days of hospital discharge, or within 180 days of hospital discharge.

For more information about these findings, including possible explanations: see Cyrus M. Kosar, Lacey Loomer, Nasim B. Ferdows, Amal N. Trivedi, Orestis A. Panagiotou, Momotazur Rahman, “Assessment of Rural-Urban Differences in Postacute Care Utilization and Outcomes Among Older US Adults,” JAMA Network Open. 2020;3(1):e1918738 (Jan. 8, 2020),  (Full PDF available.)

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