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  • Potentially Preventable Hospitalizations

    What could smoke-free do for you?

    Our campaign inspires people to find their motivation to quit.

    Check out our resources that help your patients quit tobacco.

    Help us prevent hospitalizations and improve patients’ access to care.

    A potentially preventable hospitalization (PPH) occurs when a person is hospitalized for something proper primary care could have prevented. These hospitalizations often stem from chronic conditions (e.g., diabetes, heart disease) or communicable diseases (e.g., flu, pneumonia). Regular healthcare visits and immunizations can prevent many hospitalizations.

    In 2017, Washington State Office of Financial Management released a report detailing PPH rates across the state. The report, based on data from United States Agency for Healthcare Research, uncovered the state’s highest PPH rates are in 6 Pierce County zip codes in the 27th legislative district (98404, 98405, 98408) and 29th legislative district (98409, 98418, 98444). In 2021, based on further data, we added 2 new focus zip codes: 98498 and 98439.

    Our analysis confirms Pierce County has higher PPH rates than the state as a whole. As a result, we formed a unique strike team of local healthcare leaders to address PPH in historically disadvantaged groups in the 8 focus zip codes. We partner with healthcare systems to advance strategies to improve our communities’ health.

    Learn more about PPH and our strategies to improve health in this infographic.

    View larger or print.

    This project focuses on 3 strategies.

    Join our efforts to improve health in Pierce County. 

    Increase immunization.

    Pneumonia is a common cause of preventable hospitalizations. Influenza and pneumococcal vaccines help prevent pneumonia.

    We can transfer flu and pneumococcal vaccines to your office. Contact Kate Cranfield at (253) 649-1770 or

    Direct patients to the resources on our Immunization page.

    Improve access to behavioral healthcare.

    Unaddressed substance use and mental health issues impair patients’ ability to manage chronic conditions or seek preventative care.

    Connect patients with the behavioral healthcare they need using our Refer to Treatment page.

    Smoking is a risk factor for many chronic diseases—like heart failure, diabetes and asthma—which can cause potentially preventable hospitalizations.

    Help patients quit tobacco and stay quit. Direct patients to the resources on our Quit Tobacco page.

    Improve heart failure.

    Congestive heart failure is the most common cause of preventable hospitalizations in Pierce County.

    Improving Heart Failure Workgroup

    This group works to improve heart failure through education, community health workers and improving internal processes and procedures. Collaborate and strategize with health partners and stakeholders to address heart failure in Pierce County and increase alignment of care coordination across health systems. For more information, contact Bonnie Corns.

    Learning Collaboratives

    In partnership with Answers Counseling, we host monthly 90-minute learning sessions for Pierce County residents. Topics vary and have included heart disease, motivational interviewing, healthy action planning and more.

    Volunteer to present to health and social service providers on managing heart-related chronic conditions and improving health action planning. For more information, contact Bonnie Corns.

    Community Health Workers

    We launched a Community Health Worker pilot program. Providers refer patients with heart failure a Community Health Worker to assist with health and social needs.

    Direct patients to the resources on our Heart Health page.

    Check out our progress.

    Each June we publish a report of this project’s accomplishments and challenges over the past year.