Hospitalization of Homeless Persons with Tuberculosis in the United States
OBJECTIVES: This study assessed whether homeless patients are hospitalized for tuberculosis (TB) more frequently and longer than other patients and possible reasons for this.
METHODS: We prospectively studied hospitalizations of a cohort of TB patients.
RESULTS: HIV-infected homeless patients were hospitalized more frequently than other patients, while homeless patients who had no insurance or whose insurance status was unknown were hospitalized longer. Hospitalization cost $2000 more per homeless patient than for other patients. The public sector paid nearly all costs.
CONCLUSIONS: Homeless people may be hospitalized less if given access to medical care that provides early detection and treatment of TB infection and disease and HIV infection. Providing housing and social services may also reduce hospital utilization and increase therapy completion rates. (Authors)
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