Impact of insurance status on hospital readmission

July 6, 2020

The risk of hospital readmission has been linked to insurance status in previous research. A new investigation examines if the disparity still exists.

Previous research has shown that children who are insured through their state’s Medicaid program frequently have higher hospital readmission rates than children who are privately insured. An investigation into whether the disparity has changed has been published in Pediatrics.1

Investigators used data from the 2010 to 2017 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Nationwide Readmissions Database to compare the trends in 30-day readmission rates for children insured by private insurance and Medicaid

They found that roughly 60% of pediatric hospital admissions were covered by Medicaid. Between 2010 to 2017, the number of children who had a complex or chronic condition increased in both the privately insured population and among those covered by Medicaid. There was a slight decline in readmission rates in both populations, but the rate of readmission declined more rapidly in the privately insured group. Following an adjustment for risks, the readmission rates were found to decline at a similar rate. Within-hospital difference in readmission rates for privately insured patients versus Medicaid patients was found to be stable over the study period.

The researchers concluded that although readmission rates had declined across the board, but the rate remained higher among children insured by Medicaid, there could be a continuing disparity because of insurance status.

Reference

1. Bucholz EM, Schuster MA, Toomey SL. Trends in 30-day readmission for medicaid and privately insured pediatric patients: 2010–2017. Pediatrics. 2020:145(6):e20200270. doi:10.1542/peds.2020-0270