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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Effect of race and insurance on outcome of pediatric trauma

Wael Hakmeh, Jarrod Barker, Susan M Szpunar, James M Fox, Charlene B Irvin
Academic Emergency Medicine 2010, 17 (8): 809-12
20670317

OBJECTIVES: This study sought to determine if insurance or race status affect trauma outcomes in pediatric trauma patients.

METHODS: Using the National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB; v6.2), the following variables were extracted: age (0-17 years), payment type (insured, Medicaid/Medicare, or self-pay), race (white, Black/African American, or Hispanic), Injury Severity Score (ISS > 8), type of trauma (blunt or penetrating), and discharge status (alive or dead). Data were analyzed using logistic regression.

RESULTS: Of the 70,781 patient visits analyzed, 67% were insured, 23% were Medicaid/Medicare, and 10% were self-pay. Self-pay patients had higher mortality (11%, compared to Medicaid/Medicare at 5% and insured at 4%; p < 0.001). African Americans and Hispanics also had higher mortality (7 and 6%) compared to whites (4%; p < 0.001). Self-pay patients more likely suffered penetrating trauma than insured patients (12% vs. 4%; p < 0.001), and mortality for penetrating trauma self-pay patients was 29%, compared to only 11% for penetrating trauma insured patients (p < 0.001). The mortality rate varied from a low of 3% for insured whites, to 18% for self-pay African Americans. Logistic regression (including race, insurance status, injury type, and ISS) revealed that African Americans and Hispanics both had an increased risk of death compared to whites (African American odds ratio [OR] = 1.37, Hispanic OR = 1.20). Medicaid/Medicare patients had a slightly increased risk of death with OR = 1.14, but self-pay patients were almost three times more likely to die (adjusted OR = 2.92).

CONCLUSIONS: After controlling for ISS and type of injury, mortality disparity exists for uninsured, African American, and Hispanic pediatric trauma patients. Although the reasons for this are unclear, efforts to decrease these disparities are needed.

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