A Retrospective Cohort Study on Health Insurance: Related Disparities in Trauma Patients After Penetrating Injuries: 2000-2014

Rafael De Ayala-Hillman, Cristina Diaz-Marty, Ediel Ramos-Meléndez, Omar García-Rodríguez, Lourdes Guerrios, Pablo Rodríguez-Ortiz


Objective: Although the lack of health insurance has been linked to poor health outcomes in several diseases, this relationship is still understudied in trauma. There exist differences between the Puerto Rico health care system and that of the United States. We therefore aimed to assess mortality disparities related to insurance coverage at the Puerto Rico Trauma Hospital (PRTH). Methods: A retrospective cohort study of patients who sustained penetrating injuries (presenting at the PRTH from 2000 to 2014) was performed. Individuals were classified by their insurance status. Study variables comprised demographics, clinical characteristics and outcomes. A logistic regression analysis was performed to identify the association between health insurance status and risk of dying. Results: Patients with public health insurance experienced more complications than did individuals who had private health insurance (PrHI) or who were uninsured. This group had longer durations of mechanical ventilation and spent more time in the hospital than did patients who had PrHI or who were uninsured. However, uninsured patients with gunshot wounds were 54% (adjusted odds ratio = 1.54; 95% CI: 1.01, 2.36) more likely to die than were their counterparts who had PrHI. Conclusion: Our study suggests that having health insurance could reduce a given patient mortality risk in trauma settings. More studies with larger samples are warranted to confirm these findings. If these findings hold true, then providing equitable access to health services for the entire population could prevent patients suffering trauma from having premature, preventable deaths.


insurance; public; private; uninsured; mortality; lenght of stay; mechanical ventilation

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