Uninsured More Likely to Die in Hospital

BOSTON, June 11 (UPI) — An analysis of U.S. hospital discharges found those who were uninsured had a 52 percent higher risk than others of dying in the hospital, researchers said.

Lead author Dr. Omar Hasan of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston said the study used data on 154,381 adult discharges with a principal diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction, stroke or pneumonia from the 2005 Nationwide Inpatient Sample.

The study, published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine, found that compared with the privately insured, hospital mortality among heart attack and stroke patients was significantly higher for the uninsured, 52 percent and 49 percent, respectively, and 21 percent higher among Medicaid recipients with pneumonia.

Length of stay was significantly longer for Medicaid recipients for all three conditions while hospital costs were higher for Medicaid recipients for stroke and pneumonia, but not heart attack.

“We hope that the results of our study will broach a national dialogue on whether provider sensitivity to insurance status or unmeasured sociodemographic and clinical prognostic factors are responsible for the observed disparities and stimulate additional research to find answers to these questions,” Hasan said in a statement.

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