A new interactive map released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) shows a national increase in opioid-related inpatient stays and emergency department use, including among dozens of states that are home to at least one essential hospital.
The map includes state-level data from between 2009 and 2014, as well as demographic breakdowns for hospitalizations in 2014. The data were collected through AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, which includes information from 44 states and Washington, D.C.
Users can view high-level statistics on each state and follow links for more information. AHRQ’s map can provide essential hospitals, along with their communities and elected officials, an up-to-date look at where each state stands.
The map shows that 39 states experienced an increase in opioid-related hospitalizations — a concerning majority. Thirty-two of those states have one essential hospital or more.
Nationally, opioid-related inpatient stays increased 64 percent and emergency department visits stemming from opioid use increased 99 percent. These trends match an overwhelming increase in opioid overdose deaths across the country.
Essential hospitals play a key part in the health care industry’s response to the opioid crisis. The disadvantaged populations treated by essential hospitals often have limited resources and complex social needs — substantial risk factors for substance use disorders. In addition, research shows that Medicaid is the most common primary payer for opioid-related morbidity and mortality, and nearly 12 percent of adult Medicaid beneficiaries have a substance use disorder. Patients at essential hospitals also are less likely to be able to afford follow-up care at other facilities, meaning they might rely more heavily on the hospital’s emergency and inpatient services.
America’s Essential Hospitals has released a research brief highlighting essential hospitals’ response to the opioid epidemic.