BARSTOW San Bernardino County fared poorly as a whole in a study regarding preventable hospitalizations that was released last week.

The study looked at the rates of admission for 14 different health conditions that can be prevented with proper care by primary physicians. Some of the conditions include urinary tract infections, complications from diabetes and high blood pressure. The data was collected by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development and shows rates of admissions from 1999 to 2008.

San Bernardino County was in the top 25 percent of the state for hospital admissions for 12 of 14 different preventable conditions. The only two health conditions that did not get high rates of admissions in the county were the rates of patients who had a ruptured appendix and patients who had to have a leg or foot removed due to diabetes complications.

OSHPD Director Dr. David Carlisle said in a statement that the information from the study could be used by communities to better meet their health care needs.
Barstow Community Hospital did not have figures for the amount of preventable hospitalizations in the area, but there are some general problems that could prevent people from treating their diseases and conditions, said spokesman John Rader. Some of the problems could include the likeliness of a certain population to seek care and the prevalence of chronic medical conditions such as asthma, high blood pressure or diabetes.

Rader said patients in the Barstow area could be having difficulty accessing primary care doctors because some patients on Medi-Cal sometimes have a hard time finding a provider in the Barstow area. He added that there was an effort underway to bring a Federally Qualified Healthcare Clinic to Barstow.

"A [Federally Qualified Healthcare Clinic] would help provide additional primary care resources to the area residents so that they can seek medical attention earlier before their health issues become more acute and require hospitalization," Rader said.

Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, health officer for the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health said he thinks that San Bernardino County has shown improvements with the rates of preventable hospitalizations, but said there needs to be more improvement within the county.

San Bernardino County preventable hospitalizations for every 100,000 patients in 2008: (State numbers in parentheses)

Diabetes: Uncontrolled and short-term complications: 70.8 (55.2)

Ruptured appendix: 28.1 (26.4)

Diabetes long-term complications: 124.3 (105.2)

Pediatric asthma: 100.1 (77.6)

Chronic bronchitis or emphysema: 135.6 (127.7)

Severe vomiting/diarrhea in children: 90.9 (75.3)

High blood pressure: 39.3 (32.7)

Congestive heart failure: 348.8 (293.5)

Dehydration: 78.9 (66.7)

Bacterial pneumonia: 297.7 (249.6)

Urinary tract infection: 138.8 (147.1)

Chest pain: 54.8 (26)

Adult asthma: 83.7 (82.5)

Removal of leg or foot due to diabetes complications: 33.9 (27.6)

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