Medicare Beneficiaries Living In Housing With Supportive Services Experienced Lower Hospital Use Than Others

MK. Gusmano, VG. Rodwin, D. Weisz
Health Affairs; 37(10): 1562-1569.

There is strong evidence that housing conditions affect
population health, but evidence is limited on the extent to which housing
with supportive social services can maintain population health and
reduce the use of expensive hospital services. We examined a nonprofit,
community-based program in Queens, New York, that supplied affordable
housing with supportive social services to elderly Medicare beneficiaries.
We evaluated whether this program reduced hospital use, including
hospital discharges for ambulatory care–sensitive conditions (ACSCs).
We compared hospital use among an intervention group residing in six
high-rise buildings in two neighborhoods to that among their Medicare
counterparts living in the same neighborhoods but in different buildings.
We found that hospital discharge rates were 32 percent lower, hospital
lengths-of-stay one day shorter, and ACSC rates 30 percent lower among
residents in the intervention group than among people in the
comparison group. This suggests that investments in housing with
supportive social services have the potential to reduce hospital use and
thereby decrease spending for vulnerable older patients.

Wagner Faculty