Disparities in Preventable Hospitalizations Among Public Housing Developments

Published:December 13, 2018DOI:


      This study assesses preventable hospitalization rates among New York City residents living in public housing developments compared with all New York City residents and residents in low-income areas. Additionally, preventable hospitalization rates by development (one or multiple buildings in close proximity and served by the same management office) were determined.


      The 2010–2014 New York City hospital discharge data were geocoded and linked with New York City Housing Authority records using building-level identifiers. Preventable hospitalizations resulting from ambulatory care–sensitive conditions were identified for public housing residents, citywide, and residents of low-income areas. Age-adjusted overall and ambulatory care–sensitive, condition–specific preventable hospitalization rates (11 outcomes) were determined and compared across groups to assess potential disparities. Additionally, rates were ranked and compared among public housing developments by quartiles. The analysis was conducted in 2016 and 2017.


      The age-adjusted rate of preventable hospitalization was significantly higher among public housing residents than citywide (rate ratio [RR]=2.67, 95% CI=2.65, 2.69), with the greatest disparities in hospitalizations related to diabetes (RR=3.12, 95% CI=3.07, 3.18) and asthma (RR=4.14, 95% CI=4.07, 4.21). The preventable hospitalization rate was also higher among residents of public housing than low-income areas (RR=1.33, 95% CI=1.31, 1.35). There were large differences between developments ranked in the top and bottom quartiles of preventable hospitalization (RR=1.81, 95% CI=1.76, 1.85) with the largest difference related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (RR=3.38, 95% CI=3.08, 3.70).


      Preventable hospitalization rates are high among public housing residents, and vary significantly by development and condition. By providing geographically granular information, geocoded hospital discharge data can serve as a valuable tool for health assessment and engagement of the healthcare sector and other stakeholders in interventions that address health inequities.
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