Social Determinants of Health and 30-Day Readmissions among Adults Hospitalized for Heart Failure in the REGARDS Study

Academic Article


  • Background: It is not known which social determinants of health (SDOH) impact 30-day readmission after a heart failure (HF) hospitalization among older adults. We examined the association of 9 individual SDOH with 30-day readmission after an HF hospitalization. Methods and Results: Using the REGARDS study (Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke), we included Medicare beneficiaries who were discharged alive after an HF hospitalization between 2003 and 2014. We assessed 9 SDOH based on the Healthy People 2030 Framework: race, education, income, social isolation, social network, residential poverty, Health Professional Shortage Area, rural residence, and state public health infrastructure. The primary outcome was 30-day all-cause readmission. For each SDOH, we calculated incidence per 1000 person-years and multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios of readmission. Among 690 participants, the median age was 76 years at hospitalization (interquartile range, 71-82), 44.3% were women, 35.5% were Black, 23.5% had low educational attainment, 63.0% had low income, 21.0% had zip code-level poverty, 43.5% resided in Health Professional Shortage Areas, 39.3% lived in states with poor public health infrastructure, 13.1% were socially isolated, 13.3% had poor social networks, and 10.2% lived in rural areas. The 30-day readmission rate was 22.4%. In an unadjusted analysis, only Health Professional Shortage Area was significantly associated with 30-day readmission; in a fully adjusted analysis, none of the 9 SDOH were individually associated with 30-day readmission. Conclusions: In this modestly sized national cohort, although prevalent, none of the SDOH were associated with 30-day readmission after an HF hospitalization. Policies or interventions that only target individual SDOH to reduce readmissions after HF hospitalizations may not be sufficient to prevent readmission among older adults.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 28323244
  • Author List

  • Sterling MR; Ringel JB; Pinheiro LC; Safford MM; Levitan EB; Phillips E; Brown TM; Nguyen OK; Goyal P
  • Start Page

  • 12
  • End Page

  • 19
  • Volume

  • 15
  • Issue

  • 1