CDC Estimates 1.4 Million ED Visits/Year for Those Experiencing Homelessness

Significant differences seen by sex for ED visit characteristics, including arrival by ambulance, diagnoses, chronic conditions
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WEDNESDAY, June 12, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- During 2016 to 2021, an estimated 1.4 million emergency department visits were made per year among people experiencing homelessness, according to a study published online June 11 in the National Health Statistics Reports, a publication from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Susan M. Schappert and Loredana Santo, M.D., M.P.H., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, describe emergency department visits by homeless status and sex using data from the 2016 to 2021 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.

The researchers found that about 981,000 and 460,000 emergency department visits were made annually by males and females experiencing homelessness, respectively, during 2016 to 2021. For this population, significant differences by sex were seen for many emergency department visit characteristics, including arrival by ambulance, diagnoses, and chronic conditions. Significant differences were also seen for emergency department visits by males and females experiencing homelessness versus those not experiencing homelessness based on age, geographic region, expected source of payment, primary diagnosis, chronic conditions, and other characteristics.

"Visits by people younger than 18 years or older than 64 accounted for a larger percentage of visits among those not experiencing homelessness," the authors write. "Nearly one-half of emergency department visits by both males and females experiencing homelessness occurred in the West; this is consistent with other literature on people experiencing homelessness."

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