Nevin Manimala Statistics

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Length of Stay for Common Pediatric Diagnoses: Trends From 2016 to 2019

Hosp Pediatr. 2023 Mar 13:e2021006471. doi: 10.1542/hpeds.2021-006471. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Inequities in pediatric illness include unequal treatment and outcomes for children of historically marginalized races/ethnicities. Length of stay (LOS) is used to assess health care quality and is associated with higher costs/complications. Studies show LOS disparities for Black and Hispanic children in specific diagnoses, but it is unclear how broadly they exist or how they change over time. We examined the association between race/ethnicity and LOS longitudinally for the most common pediatric inpatient diagnoses.

METHODS: We used the 2016 and 2019 Kids’ Inpatient Databases. The 10 most frequent diagnoses in 2016 were determined. For each diagnosis in each year, we assessed the association between race and LOS by fitting a generalized linear mixed effects model with a negative binomial distribution, accounting for clustering and confounding. Using descriptive statistics, we compared associations between the 2 years for trends over time.

RESULTS: Our analysis included >450 000 admissions and revealed significantly longer LOS for Black, Hispanic, and/or Asian American or Pacific Islander, Native American, and other children in 8 of the 10 diagnoses in 2016, with mixed changes over time. Three new disparities emerged in 2019. The largest disparities were for Black children in most diagnoses.

CONCLUSIONS: Kids’ Inpatient Database data showed longer LOS for children of historically marginalized race/ethnicity with common pediatric inpatient diagnoses, which largely persisted from 2016 to 2019. There is no plausible biological explanation for these findings, and inequities in social needs, access to care, and quality of care likely contribute. Future directions include further study to understand and address contributing factors.

PMID:36911912 | DOI:10.1542/hpeds.2021-006471

By Nevin Manimala

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