Study: Opiate overdose hospitalizations up in Mercer County - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Study: Opiate overdose hospitalizations up in Mercer County

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -

Mercer County had the sixth highest rate of hospital admissions for opioid overdoses over a two year period in Pennsylvania, according to a newly-released report.

The results are part of a research brief released by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council.

The analysis found that during the two year period 2016 and 2017, 74.7 for every 100,000 residents of Mercer County were hospitalized for an opioid overdose, increasing from 31 in 2016 to 40 in 2017.

The figures combine both heroin and pain medication overdoses

Only the following Pennsylvania counties had higher rates than Mercer County; Cambria (102.1) Philadelphia (100.6) Delaware (84.9) Columbia (81.2) Allegheny (76.1)

The statewide average is 65.6 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents.

The rate for lower income residents was 122.0-almost double the statewide rate. The rate was 113.7 for residents living in areas where less than 10% of the population has a bachelor's degree.

Males had a higher rate (77.8) than females (52.1). The rates for black (non-Hispanic), white (non-Hispanic), and Hispanic residents were 67.5, 65.9 and 50.4, respectively.

While the number of hospital admissions for overdoses of pain medication in the state decreased 2.2% between 2016 and 2017. There was an overall increase of 12.7% in the number of heroin overdose admissions between 2016 and 2017.

The report said it is the lowest increase seen in recent years, as average annual increases were about 24% between 2011 and 2016.

"These findings continue to stress the alarming impact the opioid problem has on Pennsylvania families," stated Joe Martin, Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council Executive Director.

Nearly 1 in 10 patients hospitalized for heroin overdose (9.6%) in Pennsylvania died in the hospital-up slightly from 9.3% in 2016. For pain medication overdose patients, 5% (or 1 in 20) died in the hospital-up from 2.9% in 2016.

Hospital admissions for opioid overdose amounted to an estimated $32 million in hospital payments in 2017-an estimated $16.4 million for heroin overdose and $15.6 million for overdoses of pain medication. On average, heroin overdose patients and pain medication overdose patients stayed in the hospital 3.4 days and 4.4 days, respectively, for a total of 13,642 days in the hospital in 2017.

The average age of patients admitted for heroin overdose was 33. The average age of patients admitted for overdoses of pain medication was 53.

Of the 1,753 hospital admissions for heroin overdoses in 2017, Medicaid was the anticipated payer for 63%, commercial insurance for 18.9% and Medicare for 10.3%, with 7.7% of the patients having no insurance or another type of insurance.

Of the 1,747 hospital admissions for pain medication overdose, Medicare was the anticipated payer for 42.1%, Medicaid for 33.6% and commercial insurance for 19.3%, with 5% of patients having no insurance or another type of insurance.

PHC4 is an independent state agency charged with collecting, analyzing and reporting information that can be used to improve the quality and restrain the cost of health care in Pennsylvania.

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