Race, Ethnicity, Health Insurance, and Mortality in Older Survivors of Critical Illness

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Abstract

Objectives:

To determine whether minority race or ethnicity is associated with mortality and mediated by health insurance coverage among older (≥ 65 yr old) survivors of critical illness.

Design:

A retrospective cohort study.

Setting:

Two New York City academic medical centers.

Patients:

A total of 1,947 consecutive white (1,107), black (361), and Hispanic (479) older adults who had their first medical-ICU admission from 2006 through 2009 and survived to hospital discharge.

Interventions:

None.

Measurements and Main Results:

We obtained demographic, insurance, and clinical data from electronic health records, determined each patient’s neighborhood-level socioeconomic data from 2010 U.S. Census tract data, and determined death dates using the Social Security Death Index. Subjects had a mean (SD) age of 79 years (8.6 yr) and median (interquartile range) follow-up time of 1.6 years (0.4–3.0 yr). Blacks and Hispanics had similar mortality rates compared with whites (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.76–1.11 and adjusted hazard ratio, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.76–1.12, respectively). Compared to those with commercial insurance and Medicare, higher mortality rates were observed for those with Medicare only (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.03–1.98) and Medicaid (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.10–1.52). Medicaid recipients who were the oldest ICU survivors (> 82 yr), survivors of mechanical ventilation, and discharged to skilled-care facilities had the highest mortality rates (p-for-interaction: 0.08, 0.03, and 0.17, respectively).

Conclusions:

Mortality after critical illness among older adults varies by insurance coverage but not by race or ethnicity. Those with federal or state insurance coverage only had higher mortality rates than those with additional commercial insurance.

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