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Health Agencies Update
July 28, 2020

Higher Rate of Opioid-Related Stays in Urban Than Rural Hospitals

JAMA. 2020;324(4):326. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.12645

In most parts of the country, hospitals in metropolitan areas had a higher average rate of opioid-related inpatient stays than hospitals in rural areas, according to a recent analysis of 2016 data by the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), which is sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The average rate for metropolitan hospitals was 30.8 opioid-related inpatient stays per 1000 stays, the HCUP found. By contrast, the rate for rural hospitals adjacent to urban areas was 20.1 per 1000 and 16.2 per 1000 for remote rural hospitals.

But the rates varied widely across US Census divisions. For example, the rate among remote rural hospitals in the West South Central division was 9.4 per 1000 hospitalizations compared with 34.7 per 1000 in the New England division. Only in New England were rates high in both metropolitan and rural hospitals, the study found.