Predictors of return visits among insured Emergency Department mental health and substance abuse patients, 2005-2013

Sangil Lee, Jeph Herrin, William V. Bobo, Ryan Johnson, Lindsey R. Sangaralingham, Ronna L. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction: Our goal was to describe the pattern and identify risk factors of early-return ED visits or inpatient admissions following an index mental health and substance abuse (MHSA)-related ED visit in the United States. Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study using Optum Labs Data Warehouse, a nationally representative database containing administrative claims data on privately insured and Medicare Advantage enrollees. Authors identified patients presenting to an ED with a primary diagnosis of MHSA between 2005 and 2013 who were discharged home. Study inclusion required continuous insurance enrollment for the 12 months preceding and the 31 days following the index ED visit. During the study period we included only the first ED visit for each patient. Results: A total of 49,672 (14.2%) had a return visit to the ED or had a hospitalization within 30 days following discharge. Mean time to the next ED visit or inpatient admission was 11.7 days. An increased age (age 65+ vs. age <18 years; OR 1.65, 95% CI [1.57 to 1.74]), chronic medical comorbidities (Hwang comorbidity 5+ vs 0; OR 1.31, 95% CI [1.27 to 1.35]), prior ED and inpatient utilization (4+ visits vs 0 visits; OR 5.59, 95% CI [5.41 to 5.78]) were associated with return visits within 30 days following discharge. Conclusion: In an analysis of nearly 350,000 ED visits for MHSA, 14.2 % of patients returned to the ED or hospital within 30 days. This study identified a number of factors associated with return visits for acute care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)884-893
Number of pages10
JournalWestern Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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