Patients Without Insurance Have Shorter Hospital Stays

Uninsured have shorter stays for ambulatory care-sensitive conditions, or non-ACSCs

TUESDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Patients without Medicaid or any other insurance, with ambulatory care-sensitive conditions (ACSCs) or non-ACSCs, have shorter lengths of stay in hospitals than patients with insurance, according to a study published in the November/December issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Arch G. Mainous III, Ph.D., from the University of South Carolina in Charleston, and colleagues assessed the impact of insurance on the length of stay in hospitals and risk of mortality after hospitalization. Data were collected for hospitalizations from the National Hospital Discharge Survey for patients aged 18 to 64 years who were hospitalized with ACSCs, hospitalizations considered to be preventable, and non-ACSCs from 2003 to 2007. The transformed mean length of stay was analyzed for individuals with Medicaid or all other insurance types and those without insurance. The analysis was stratified by hospital ownership.

The investigators found that patients without insurance had a reduced length of stay in the hospital, after controlling for age, gender, and race/ethnicity and for hospitalizations with either an ACSC or non-ACSC diagnosis. A significantly shorter mean length of stay for ACSCs was seen across all hospital types for individuals without insurance (2.77 days), versus those with either private insurance (2.89 days) or Medicaid (3.19 days). The in-hospital mortality rate did not differ significantly according to insurance status for those hospitalized with ACSCs.

"Patients without insurance have shorter lengths of stay for both ACSCs and non-ACSCs," the authors write.

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