Race, insurance status, and traumatic brain injury outcomes before and after enactment of the Affordable Care Act

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BackgroundThe Affordable Care Act aims to improve patient outcomes. Race/ethnicity and insurance status impact outcomes after traumatic brain injury. We sought to gauge the Affordable Care Act's effect on outcomes after traumatic brain injury, as graded by race/ethnicity and insurance status.MethodsThe National Trauma Data Bank was utilized to identify traumatic brain injury patients before and after the Affordable Care Act. Patient outcomes comprised of hospital duration of stay, in-hospital mortality, discharge to rehabilitation, and surgical procedures. Using regression analysis, we evaluated the impact of race/ethnicity and insurance status on traumatic brain injury outcomes, then compared them before and after the Affordable Care Act.ResultsMortality decreased for blacks (odds ratio = 0.96 [confidence interval 0.83–1.10] to odds ratio = 0.79 [confidence interval = 0.70–0.89], and Hispanics (odds ratio = 1.03 [confidence interval = 0.90–1.17] to odds ratio = 0.79 [confidence interval = 0.70–0.89]). Mortality increased for the uninsured (odds ratio = 1.28 [confidence interval = 1.11–1.47] to odds ratio = 1.40 [confidence interval = 1.24–1.58]). Medicaid patients underwent decreased duration of stay, (coefficient = 2.75 [confidence interval = 2.49–3.02] to coefficient = 2.17, [confidence interval = 1.98–2.37]), discharge to rehabilitation (odds ratio = 1.15, [confidence interval = 1.04–1.26] to odds ratio = 0.95 [confidence interval = 0.87–1.03]), and surgical procedures (odds ratio = 1.28 [confidence interval = 1.13–1.45] to odds ratio = 1.18, [confidence interval = 1.07–1.30]), while mortality remained unchanged.ConclusionAfter the Affordable Care Act traumatic brain injury mortality decreased for blacks and Hispanics, but increased for the uninsured. Decreasing trends in resource consumption were also evident, especially for Medicaid patients. These results may illustrate altered delivery of care.

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