Universal health insurance and its association with long term outcomes in pediatric trauma patients

Document Type



General Surgery


Background: Racial disparities in mortality exist among pediatric trauma patients; however, little is known about disparities in outcomes following discharge.
Methods: We conducted a longitudinal cohort study of children admitted for moderate to severe trauma, covered by TRICARE from 2006 to 2014. Patients were followed up to 90days after discharge. All children <18 years with a primary trauma diagnosis, an Injury Severity Score >9 and 90days of follow-up after discharge were included. Complications, readmissions and utilization of healthcare services up to 90days after discharge were compared between Black and White patients.
Results: Of the 5192 children included, majority were White (74.6%, n=3871), with 15.4% Black (n=800) and 10.0% Other (n=521). Most common injuries involved the extremities or the pelvic girdle followed by the head or neck. Complication and readmission rates were 3.6% and 8.9% within 30days of discharge respectively and 4.4% and 9.3% within 90days of discharge. 99.0% of children had at least one outpatient visit by 90days. After adjusting for patient and injury characteristics no significant differences were detected between Black and White children in outcomes after discharge.
Conclusions: Universal insurance may help mitigate disparities in post discharge care in pediatric trauma populations by increasing access to outpatient services overall and within each racial group. Further studies are required to determine the appropriate timing and frequency of follow up care in order to achieve maximum reduction in use of acute care services after discharge


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University

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