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On July 2, Lancasteronline published an article about some wonderful news about Lancaster’s hospitalization rates. Hospitals across the commonwealth track not only how many visitors it receives, but also how frequently each visitor is rushed to the ER. Those who are rushed in more than five times per year are categorized as “Super Utilizers,” and hospitals with high rates of super utilizers are asked to revisit their policies and practices to ensure they’re treating patients properly and practicing preemptive maintenance.

This year, Lancaster County reported the second-lowest rate of Hospital Super Utilizers in the commonwealth of PA. In loose numbers, only about eleven out of every ten thousand residents of Lancaster, PA, takes five or more trips to the hospital per year.

On the whole, super utilizers comprise a small percentage of the population at large and the hospital admittance rates. However, such frequent flyers take up a disproportionate amount of the hospital’s budget in terms of treatment. According to the press release from the independent agency that collects and analyzes these stats, “Statewide, the top three reasons super-utilizers were admitted to the hospital included sepsis, heart failure and mental health disorders. Diabetes and alcohol/substance abuse disorders were in the top three for Medicaid patients.”

It’s been well-documented that mental health disorders not only lead to more hospital admissions, but they can also complicate and extend stays in the hospital. In Lancaster County in particular, triage nurses and primary care providers are working hard to ensure morale stays high and mental health problems are diagnosed and accounted for. Wellspan in particular has ensured that there is a mental health professional in every primary care office and emergency room to field the instances and difficult situations that general doctors may not be equipped to handle. Presently, a behavioral health unit is in the works to be erected on Harrisburg Pike to assist in this effort even further.

Lancaster has also implemented a number of lifestyle programs to make sure that citizens are living healthfully and don’t need to visit the hospital as frequently. For example, Lancaster General Hospital started an outreach program called Lighten Up Lancaster to help schools and businesses encourage healthful lifestyles that include balanced diets, regular exercise, and active transportation. The city is also working on implementing a formal bike share program so city residents and visitors will always have access to a bicycle.

The Andy Esbenshade Team has written about how to reach your health goals throughout the city and how to get in the habit of biking more frequently. Click through our blogs tagged “Lancaster” for some ideas of your own!