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Hospital utilization for injection drug use-related soft tissue infections in urban versus rural counties in California
Heinzerling KG, Etzioni DA, Hurley B, Holtom P, Bluthenthal RN, Asch SM. Hospital utilization for injection drug use-related soft tissue infections in urban versus rural counties in California. Journal of urban health : bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine. 2006 Mar 1; 83(2):176-81.
Drug related-soft tissue infections (DR-STIs) are a significant source of hospital utilization in inner-city urban areas where injection drug use is common but the magnitude of hospital utilization for DR-STIs outside of inner-city urban areas is not known. We described the magnitude and characteristics of hospital utilization for DR-STIs in urban versus rural counties in California. All discharges from all nonfederal hospitals in California in 2000 with ICD-9 codes for a soft tissue infection and for drug dependence/abuse were abstracted from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development discharge database. There were 4,152 DR-STI discharges in 2000 from hospitals in 49 of California's 58 counties. Residents of 12 large metropolitan counties accounted for 3,598 discharges (87% of total). The majority of DR-STI discharges were from urban safety net hospitals with county indigent programs and Medicaid as the expected payment source and opiate related discharge diagnoses. Hospital utilization for DR-STIs in California is highest in large urban metropolitan counties, although DR-STI discharges are widespread. Increased access to harm reduction services and drug treatment may reduce government health care expenditures by preventing unnecessary hospital utilization for DR-STIs.