Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Pharmaceutical Sciences

First Advisor

Leticia R. Moczygemba, PharmD, PhD


A mixed methods approach was used for this study. The setting was a low-income, subsidized housing apartment building for community-dwelling older and younger disabled adults identified as a health care hot spot due to high rates of ambulance use. The study purpose was to identify reasons for ED use and problems during transition from ED to home, predictors of zip code 23220 (health care hot spot) in emergent and non-emergent ED visits, and predictors of total ED costs in community-dwelling older adults living in a health care hot spot. Semi-structured interviews with residents who used the ED, an existing database from an interprofessional care coordination and wellness program for residents, and community-dwelling older adults’ electronic medical record and billing data from 2010-2013 ED visits from an academic medical center were used. The Gelberg-Andersen Behavioral Model for Vulnerable Populations was utilized. A total of 14 interviews were conducted. Themes related to ED use included: high use of ambulance services, timely use of the ED or attempt at self-care, and lack of communication with a health care provider prior to ED visit. Themes related to care transitions were: delay in medication receipt after discharge, lack of a current medication list and personal health record, PCP follow-up instruction, and education on warning signs of a worsening condition. The interprofessional program’s care coordination activities were education, disease monitoring, referral for PCP visit, and discrepancy reconciliation. A total of 7,805 ED visits were included, of which 3,871 were non-emergent and 1,179 were emergent. Common primary ED visit diagnoses were chest pain and abdominal pain. White race, a Charlson Comorbidity Index score of 3, and a total disease count of 10 or more were significant predictors of zip code 23220 in non-emergent ED visits. White race was a significant predictor of zip code 23220 in emergent ED visits. Significant predictors of total ED costs were white or other race, arrival by ambulance, emergent visit type, and year of visit. Pain was a common reason for ED use. Care transition problems related to medication management and follow-up care indicate an area for targeted interventions after ED discharge.


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