Table of Contents
International Journal of Family Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 823294, 10 pages
Research Article

Multimorbidity, Mental Illness, and Quality of Care: Preventable Hospitalizations among Medicare Beneficiaries

1Department of Pharmaceutical Systems and Policy, School of Pharmacy, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
2School of Social Work, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
3HSR&D Center for Healthcare Knowledge Management, Veterans Administration New Jersey Healthcare System East Orange, NJ 07018, USA

Received 11 April 2012; Revised 6 October 2012; Accepted 21 October 2012

Academic Editor: Carolyn Chew-Graham

Copyright © 2012 Mayank Ajmera et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Individuals with multimorbidity are vulnerable to poor quality of care due to issues related to care coordination. Ambulatory care sensitive hospitalizations (ACSHs) are widely accepted quality indicators because they can be avoided by timely, appropriate, and high-quality outpatient care. Objective. To examine the association between multimorbidity, mental illness, and ACSH. Study Design. We used a longitudinal panel design with data from multiple years (2000–2005) of Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey. Individuals were categorized into three groups: (1) multimorbidity with mental illness (MM/MI); (2) MM/no MI; (3) no MM. Multivariable logistic regressions were used to analyze the association between multimorbidity and ACSH. Results. Any ACSH rates varied from 10.8% in MM/MI group to 8.8% in MM/No MI group. Likelihood of any ACSH was higher among beneficiaries with MM/MI (AOR = 1.62; 95% CI = 1.14, 2.30) and MM (AOR = 1.54; 95% CI = 1.12, 2.11) compared to beneficiaries without multimorbidity. There was no statistically significant difference in likelihood of ACSH between MM/MI and MM/No MI groups. Conclusion. Multimorbidity (with or without MI) had an independent and significant association with any ACSH. However, presence of mental illness alone was not associated with poor quality of care as measured by ACSH.