Dental-Related Use of Hospital Emergency Departments by Hispanics and Non-Hispanics in Florida

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Abstract

Objectives

To examine differences between Hispanics and non-Hispanics in Florida in the dental-related use of hospital emergency departments (EDs).

Methods

We used ambulatory ED discharge records from 2013 to 2015 to compute rates of ED visits for dental complaints per 10 000 population, by region, age, gender, and the percentage distribution visits by primary payer, day of the week, and hour of arrival.

Results

There were 64 100 ED visits for dental complaints by Hispanics and 425 162 by non-Hispanics. Medicaid was the most common primary payer for Hispanics (42.2%) and for non-Hispanics (38.1%). Rates of ED utilization for dental problems per 10 000 population were 45.5 for Hispanics and 95.2 for non-Hispanics.

Conclusions

Rates of ED utilization for dental problems were different between Hispanics and non-Hispanics.

Public Health Implications

Effective interventions need to be developed in the context of a social-ecological model to better understand factors such as health, economics, and education, among others. Understanding and intervening with the individual, communities, and policy could help to modify behaviors and improve access to dental care.

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