Less Testing in ER for Children With Non-Private Insurance

Non-private insurance linked to decreased diagnostic testing, medication use, procedures

THURSDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- For children in the emergency department, non-private insurance status is associated with decreased diagnostic testing and interventions, according to a study published online May 10 in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Rebekah Mannix, M.D., M.P.H., from the Children's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cross-sectional analysis of emergency department visits for children younger than 19 years to investigate the association between insurance status and use of diagnostic testing or interventions. Children were classified according to insurance status (private, public, or no insurance).

The researchers found that 45, 43, and 12 percent of visits were by children with private insurance, public insurance, and no insurance, respectively. Compared to those with private insurance, children with public and no insurance received less testing (adjusted odds ratio, 0.78 for each). There were similar patterns for medication use and performance of procedures.

"Non-private insurance status is associated with decreased utilization of diagnostic testing and intervention in children visiting the emergency department," the authors write. "It is unclear whether these patterns represent appropriate utilization, overutilization in patients with private insurance, or underutilization in patients without private insurance."

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