Disparities in Potentially Preventable Hospitalizations: Near-National Estimates for Hispanics.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To obtain near-national rates of potentially preventable hospitalization (PPH)-a marker of barriers to outpatient care access-for Hispanics; to examine their differences from other race-ethnic groups and by Hispanic national origin; and to identify key mediating factors.

DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING

Data from all-payer inpatient discharge databases for 15 states accounting for 85 percent of Hispanics nationally.

STUDY DESIGN

Combining counts of inpatient discharges with census population for adults aged 18 and older, we estimated age-sex-adjusted PPH rates. We examined county-level variation in race-ethnic disparities in these rates to identify the mediating role of area-level indicators of chronic condition prevalence, socioeconomic status (SES), health care access, acculturation, and provider availability.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS

Age-sex-adjusted PPH rates were 13 percent higher among Hispanics (1,375 per 100,000 adults) and 111 percent higher among blacks (2,578) compared to whites (1,221). Among Hispanics, these rates were relatively higher in areas with predominantly Puerto Rican and Cuban Americans than in areas with Hispanics of other nationalities. Small area variation in chronic condition prevalence and SES fully accounted for the higher rates among Hispanics, but only partially among blacks.

CONCLUSIONS

Hispanics and blacks face higher barriers to outpatient care access; the higher barriers among Hispanics (but not blacks) seem mediated by SES, lack of insurance, cost barriers, and limited provider availability.

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