Background and objective: Latino children have lower rates of injury visits to emergency departments (EDs) than non-Latino white and African American children. This study tests the hypothesis that this difference reflects health insurance status.
Design: Secondary analysis.
Patients/setting: Children under 19 years of age visiting EDs in the USA, sampled in the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey of EDs (NHAMCS-ED) from 1997 to 2001.
Main outcome measures: Rates of ED injury visits; ED injury visit rates by race/ethnicity stratified by health insurance and adjusted for other covariates; subtypes of injury visits; and procedures and hospital admissions by race/ethnicity.
Results: Injuries accounted for >56 million, or 40.5%, of total ED visits among pediatric patients. Injury visits occurred at lower rates for Latino children (9.9 per 100 person years) than non-Latino white and African American children (16.2 and 18.3, respectively), although total ED visit rates were similar. Regardless of health insurance status, Latino children had lower rates of injury visits than non-Latino white and African American children. Latino children had lower rates of the three major subtypes of injury visits (sports, accidental falls, struck by/between objects). Latino children had similar rates of procedures and hospital admissions to non-Latino white children.
Conclusions: Irrespective of their insurance status, Latino children have lower rates of ED injury visits in the USA than non-Latino white children. Possible reasons for this difference include different healthcare seeking behavior or different injury patterns by race/ethnicity, but not differences in health insurance status or barriers to accessing ED care.
- ED, emergency department
- NCHS, National Center for Health Statistics
- NHIS, National Health Interview Survey
- NHAMCS-ED, National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey of Emergency Departments
- health insurance
- emergency department visits
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