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VOLUME 53 | NUMBER 3 | JUNE 2018


Disparities in Potentially Preventable Hospitalizations: NearNational Estimates for Hispanics

Objective: To obtain nearnational rates of potentially preventable hospitalization (PPH)—a marker of barriers to outpatient care access—for Hispanics; to examine their differences from other raceethnic groups and by Hispanic national origin; and to identify key mediating factors.

Data Sources/Study Setting: Data from allpayer inpatient discharge databases for 15 states accounting for 85 percent of Hispanics nationally.

Study Design: Combining counts of inpatient discharges with census population for adults aged 18 and older, we estimated agesexadjusted PPH rates. We examined countylevel variation in raceethnic disparities in these rates to identify the mediating role of arealevel indicators of chronic condition prevalence, socioeconomic status (SES), health care access, acculturation, and provider availability.

Principal Findings: Agesexadjusted PPH rates were 13 percent higher among Hispanics (1,375 per 100,000 adults) and 111 percent higher among blacks (2,578) compared to whites (1,221). Among Hispanics, these rates were relatively higher in areas with predominantly Puerto Rican and Cuban Americans than in areas with Hispanics of other nationalities. Small area variation in chronic condition prevalence and SES fully accounted for the higher rates among Hispanics, but only partially among blacks.

Conclusions: Hispanics and blacks face higher barriers to outpatient care access; the higher barriers among Hispanics (but not blacks) seem mediated by SES, lack of insurance, cost barriers, and limited provider availability.

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