(HealthDay News) — One in six hospitalized patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, according to a study published online August 11 in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

Jinoos Yazdany, MD, MPH, from the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues used hospital discharge databases from five geographically dispersed states to examine all-cause SLE readmissions between 2008–2009. Each hospitalization (55,936 among 31,903 patients) was evaluated as a possible index event leading up to a readmission.

The researchers found that age was inversely related to risk of readmission. Readmission was higher among black and Hispanic patients, compared to white patients. Patients with Medicare or Medicaid insurance also had higher readmission rates vs. those with private insurance. Clinical lupus characteristics, including lupus nephritis, serositis, and thrombocytopenia, were associated with readmission. After accounting for patient-level clustering and hospital case mix, readmission rates varied significantly between hospitals. Geographic variation in readmission was seen, with risk-adjusted readmission rates lower in New York and higher in Florida compared to California.

“Significant geographic and hospital-level variation in risk-adjusted readmission rates suggests potential for quality improvement,” the authors write.

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