Little is known about the risk of individuals who are released from correctional facilities, a time when there may be discontinuity in care.
To study the risk for hospitalizations among former inmates soon after their release from correctional facilities.
Retrospective cohort study.
Data from Medicare administrative claims for 110 419 fee-for-service beneficiaries who were released from a correctional facility from 2002 through 2010 and controls matched by age, sex, race, Medicare status, and residential zip code.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Hospitalization rates and specifically those for ambulatory care–sensitive conditions 7, 30, and 90 days after release.
Of 110 419 released inmates, 1559 individuals (1.4%) were hospitalized within 7 days after release; 4285 individuals (3.9%) within 30 days; and 9196 (8.3%) within 90 days. The odds of hospitalization was higher for released inmates compared with those of matched controls (within 7 days: odds ratio [OR], 2.5 [95% CI, 2.3-2.8]; within 30 days: OR, 2.1 [95% CI, 2.0-2.2]; and within 90 days: OR, 1.8 [95% CI, 1.7-1.9]). Compared with matched controls, former inmates were more likely to be hospitalized for ambulatory care–sensitive conditions (within 7 days: OR, 1.7 [95% CI, 1.4-2.1]; within 30 days: OR, 1.6 [95% CI, 1.5-1.8]; and within 90 days: OR, 1.6 [95% CI, 1.5-1.7]).
Conclusions and Relevance
About 1 in 70 former inmates are hospitalized for an acute condition within 7 days of release, and 1 in 12 by 90 days, a rate much higher than in the general population.