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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Rutgers Study Finds Elderly Housing with Supportive Social Services Can Reduce Costly Hospital Use

Rutgers School of Public Health faculty and Director of the Health Systems and Policy Concentration, Dr. Michael K. Gusmano, along with colleagues, have recently published a study examining the impact housing conditions have on hospitalization rates of Medicare beneficiaries.

Prior research shows that there is strong evidence that housing conditions affect population health, but there is limited information about the extent to which housing with supportive social services can maintain population health and reduce the use of expensive hospital services for Medicare beneficiaries.

Dr. Gusmano, who is also a research scholar at the Hastings Center, and his colleagues examined a nonprofit, community-based program in Queens, New York, that supplied affordable, or subsidized, housing with supportive social services to elderly Medicare beneficiaries. They then evaluated whether this program reduced hospital use, including hospital discharges for ambulatory care–sensitive conditions (ACSCs).

The researchers found that both discharge rates and the length of hospital stay were lower in Medicare beneficiaries who lived in subsidized housing as compared to their counterparts with different living arrangements in the same neighborhood.

“The study’s findings suggest that continued investment in housing with supportive social services can reduce costly hospital use and thereby decrease spending for vulnerable older patients,” comments Dr. Gusmano.

Medicare Beneficiaries Living In Housing With Supportive Services Experienced Lower Hospital Use Than Others” was published in the October 2018 issue of Health Affairs.