Characteristics of Children Having Multiple Medicaid-Paid Asthma Hospitalizations

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ObjectivesWe undertook this population-based study to describe the characteristics of poor children with multiple asthma hospitalizations and to discern if poor minority children have a greater risk for these events than poor white children.MethodsWe conducted a retrospective analysis of 1994 California hospital discharge data for asthma hospitalizations among 1 to 12-year-old Medicaid patients (N = 6844 discharges). Risk factors for multiple Medicaid asthma hospitalizations were calculated by using logistic regression procedures.ResultsIn 1994, asthma hospitalizations accounted for 11.6% of Medicaid-funded hospitalizations for 1 to 12-year-olds in California. These hospitalizations had a mean length of 2.7 days and a mean hospital charge of $6532. After we controlled for source of admission and length of stay, African American children (OR, 1.93; 95% CI 1.49–2.49) and Latino children (OR, 1.34; 95% CI 1.04–1.72) had a higher risk of multiple Medicaid-paid hospitalizations for asthma than did white children. Adjusted odds ratios for multiple asthma hospitalizations were 1.35 (CI, 1.05–1.74) for children with emergency room admissions, and 1.16 (CI, 0.97–1.39) for children having hospital stays of at least 5 days duration.ConclusionsAmong children with Medicaid-paid hospitalizations for asthma, the risk for multiple asthma hospitalizations within a year was greater among African Americans and Latinos than among whites. Programs attempting to decrease repeat hospitalizations for asthma may benefit by focusing on these populations.

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