CHICAGO According to the results of a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, African-Americans, Hispanics and uninsured patients use fewer post-hospitalization services after traumatic injury, including home health care, skilled nursing care, and rehabilitation.
Notably, the authors found African-American patients fell short of post-hospital care in only a few categories, while disparities were highest among the Hispanic population. The study found Hispanic patients were far less likely to utilize post-hospitalization facilities and services regardless of insurance status, and therefore could have more severe long-term health consequences compared with other populations. This disparity could be due to a number of factors, including language barriers, provider or institutional bias, fear of the medical system, or fear of legal repercussions due to immigration status.
"Population disparities in health care have long been recognized, but this study is aimed at helping us comprehend the underlying mechanisms that lead to unequal outcomes among injured patients and demonstrates that race, ethnicity, and insurance status do indeed have important associations with post-hospital care after traumatic injury," said Adil Haider, MD, MPH, FACS, senior author of the study and associate professor of surgery, anesthesiology and critical care medicine, and co-director, Center for Surgery Trials and Outcomes Research, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore.
The study examined 2007 data in the National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB) for trauma patients between the ages of 18 and 64. Of the 136,239 patients who met inclusion criteria, more African-American patients (80.5 percent) and Hispanics (86.2 percent) were discharged to home than white patients (76.8 percent). Fewer African-American patients (3.2 percent) and Hispanic patients (3.1 percent) were discharged to rehabilitation facilities than white
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