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November/December 2011 Annals of Family Medicine Tip Sheet
Date:11/14/2011

Uninsured Patients Have Shorter Hospital Stays

Patients without insurance have significantly shorter hospital stays than patients with insurance, raising worrisome concerns that hospitals may have increased incentive to release these patients earlier to reduce their own costs of uncompensated care. Analyzing nationally representative data on a weighted sample of more than 90 million hospitalizations between 2003 and 2007 of patients aged 18 to 64 years, researchers found across all hospital types (for-profit, nonprofit and government), the average length of stay for preventable hospitalizations (thought to be avoidable with the use of appropriate preventive care and disease management) was significantly shorter for individuals without insurance (2.77 days) than for those with either private insurance (2.89 days) or Medicaid (3.19 days). For patients hospitalized for other diagnoses, the average length of stay was also shorter for uninsured patients (2.74 days) than for those with private insurance (2.86) or Medicaid (3.13). In terms of in-hospital mortality for patients with hospitalizations for non-preventable conditions, researchers found patients without insurance were at a higher likelihood of death in both for-profit and nonprofit hospitals. They found no significant difference in mortality among patients hospitalized for preventable conditions, though the limited number of deaths limited the analysis. The authors call on clinicians to advocate for all patients to be treated equally no matter what type of health insurance or payment type is being provided for services.

Impact of Insurance and Hospital Ownership on Hospital Length of Stay Among Patients With Ambulatory Care-Sensitive Conditions

By Arch G. Mainous, III, PhD., et al

Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston

Children More Likely to Have Unmet Health Care Needs if Parents Lack a Medical Home

Children whose parents lack a usual source of health
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Contact: Angela Sharma
asharma@aafp.org
913-269-2269
American Academy of Family Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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