Statement of Purpose The impact of a motor vehicle crash (MVC) on health can have effects beyond injuries treated immediately following the crash. Understanding the long-term effects of an MVC can help develop programs to assist injured persons while having minimal impact on the healthcare system.
Methods We probabilistically linked MVC records from 2011 and 2015 to emergency department (ED) and hospital discharge (inpatient) records from 2010 to 2016. To assess the long-term impact of an MVC, ED and inpatient visits up to a year following the data of the crash were considered matches. ED and inpatient visits in the year preceding the crash were also linked to use as a comparison of healthcare utilization before the event. Several confounders were assessed for their impact on post-crash healthcare usage, including age, sex, injury severity, and comorbidities identified on the hospital record at the time of the crash.
Results There were 652,486 persons involved in MVCs, of these 68,546 (10.5%) persons linked to an ED or inpatient record associated with their MVC and comprised our study population. A higher percentage of persons had hospital treatment in the year following their crash compared to the year before [19,568 (28.5%) vs. 16,500 (24.1%), McNemar’s p-value<0.001). Increased hospitalization usage was consistent across all ages, sexes, and comorbidities. However, post-MVC healthcare resulted in higher median charges (p<0.001) and lengths of stay (LOS) (p<0.001). This relationship increased with age where those 65–89 years had pre-MVC median charges of $3,497 and LOS of 2 but post-MVC median charges of $4,330 and LOS of 5 (p<0.001). Similarly, those with comorbidities experienced higher post-MVC charges ($3,380 pre vs. $4,362 post, p<0.001).
Significance of Contributions MVCs have an impact beyond the event itself. Those who are most fragile, such as older persons and those with comorbidities, may be differentially impacted.
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