To test the hypothesis that an association exists between process and outcome measures of the quality of acute asthma care provided to children in the emergency department.
Investigators at 14 US sites prospectively enrolled consecutive children 2 to 17 years of age presenting to the emergency department with acute asthma. In models adjusted for variables commonly associated with the quality of acute asthma care, we measured the association between 7 measures of concordance with national asthma guideline-recommended processes and 2 outcomes. Specifically, we modeled the association between 5 receipt/nonreceipt process measures and successful discharge and the association between 2 timeliness measures and admission.
In this cohort of 1426 patients, 62% were discharged without relapse or ongoing symptoms (successful discharge), 15% were discharged with relapse or ongoing symptoms, and 24% were admitted. The composite score for receipt of all 5 receipt/nonreceipt process measures was 84%, and for timeliness measures, 57% receive a timely corticosteroid and 92% a timely β-agonist. Our adjusted models showed no association between process and outcome measures, with 1 exception: timely β-agonist administration was associated with admission, likely reflecting confounding by severity rather than a true process-outcome association.
We found no clinically significant association between process and outcome quality measures in the delivery of asthma-related care to children in a multicenter study. Although the quality of emergency department care does not predict successful discharge, other factors, such as outpatient care, may better predict outcomes.
asthma; outcome and process assessments (health care); quality of health care; Severity of Illness Index; practice guideline; antiasthmatic agents; asthma; preschool child; child; adolescent
Food Allergy; Epinephrine; Anaphylaxis; Emergency Department; Admission
There is little evidence about which children with bronchiolitis will have worsened disease after discharge from the emergency department (ED). The objective of this study was to determine predictors of post-ED unscheduled visits.
The authors conducted a prospective cohort study of patients discharged from 2004 to 2006 at 30 EDs in 15 U.S. states. Inclusion criteria were diagnosis of bronchiolitis, age <2 years, and discharge home; the exclusion criterion was previous enrollment. Unscheduled visits were defined as urgent visits to an ED/clinic for worsened bronchiolitis within 2 weeks.
Of 722 patients eligible for the current analysis, 717 (99%) had unscheduled visit data, of whom 121 (17%; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 14% to 20%) had unscheduled visits. Unscheduled visits were more likely for children age <2 months (11% vs. 6%; p = 0.04), males (70% vs. 57%; p = 0.007), and those with history of hospitalization (27% vs. 18%; p = 0.01). The two groups were similar in other demographic and clinical factors (all p > 0.10). Using multivariable logistic regression, independent predictors of unscheduled visits were age <2 months, male, and history of hospitalization.
In this study of children age younger than 2 years with bronchiolitis, one of six children had unscheduled visits within 2 weeks of ED discharge. The three predictors of unscheduled visits were age under 2 months, male sex, and previous hospitalization.
bronchiolitis; emergency department; risk factors; prediction rules; unscheduled visits
We sought to establish the frequency of receiving >1 dose of epinephrine in children who present to the emergency department (ED) with food-related anaphylaxis.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
We performed a medical chart review at Boston hospitals of all children presenting to the ED for food-related acute allergic reactions between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2006. We focused on causative foods, clinical presentations, and emergency treatments.
Through random sampling and appropriate weighting, the 605 reviewed cases represented a study cohort of 1255 patients. These patients had a median age of 5.8 years (95% confidence interval [CI]: 5.3– 6.3), and the cohort was 62% male. A variety of foods provoked the allergic reactions, including peanuts (23%), tree nuts (18%), and milk (15%). Approximately half (52% [95% CI: 48–57]) of the children met diagnostic criteria for food-related anaphylaxis. Among those with anaphylaxis, 31% received 1 dose and 3% received >1 dose of epinephrine before their arrival to the ED. In the ED, patients with anaphylaxis received antihistamines (59%), corticosteroids (57%), epinephrine (20%). Over the course of their reaction, 44% of patients with food-related anaphylaxis received epinephrine, and among this subset of patients, 12% (95% CI: 9–14) received >1 dose. Risk factors for repeat epinephrine use included older age and transfer from an outside hospital. Most patients (88%) were discharged from the hospital. On ED discharge, 43% were prescribed self-injectable epinephrine, and only 22% were referred to an allergist.
Among children with food-related anaphylaxis who received epinephrine, 12% received a second dose. Results of this study support the recommendation that children at risk for food-related anaphylaxis carry 2 doses of epinephrine.
food allergy; anaphylaxis; emergency department; epinephrine
The prevalence of written “action plans” (APs) among emergency department (ED) patients with acute asthma is unknown.
To determine the prevalence of APs among ED patients, to describe the demographic and clinical profile of patients with and without APs, and to examine the appropriateness of response to an asthma exacerbation scenario.
Using a standard protocol, 49 North American EDs performed a prospective cohort study involving interviews of 1,756 patients, ages 2–54, with acute asthma. Among children only, a random sample was contacted two years after the index ED visit to assess current AP status and parents’ self-management knowledge.
The overall prevalence of APs was 32% (95% confidence interval [CI], 30%–34%), and was higher among children than adults (34% vs. 26%, respectively; p = 0.001). Patients with APs had worse measures of chronic asthma severity (p < 0.05) and were more likely to be hospitalized (multivariate odds ratio, 1.5; 95%CI, 1.1–2.1). After 2 years, most children with an AP at the index ED visit still had one but only 20% of those without an AP had obtained one; moreover, many of the APs appeared inadequate. Parents of children with a current AP performed slightly better on the asthma scenario, but both groups overestimated their asthma knowledge.
The prevalence of APs among ED patients with acute asthma is unacceptably low, and many of these APs appear inadequate. “Confounding by severity” will complicate any non-randomized analysis of the potential impact of APs on asthma outcomes in ED patients.
asthma; action plans; emergency medicine; education; self-management
To examine whether change in slow vital capacity (SVC) correlates to dyspnea improvement during emergency department (ED) treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbation.
We performed a prospective cohort study and enrolled consecutive patients during a 3-week period. ED patients ≥ 55 years old with COPD exacerbation were asked to perform bedside spirometry shortly after ED arrival and again at discharge. SVC was measured first, then forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1), peak expiratory flow (PEF), and forced vital capacity (FVC). Concurrent with spirometry, patients rated their dyspnea on a 10-cm visual analogue scale.
Thirty-six patients were enrolled. The median ED stay was 271 min (interquartile range 219–370 min). Seventy-one percent of the patients reported dyspnea improvement during their ED stay. Change in SVC was significantly higher among the patients whose dyspnea improved than among those whose did not (median increase of 0.15 L vs median decrease of 0.25 L, respectively, p < 0.01). By contrast, the change in spirometry values were similar for FEV1, PEF, and FVC (all p > 0.30). Spearman correlation supported these findings: SVC r = 0.45 (p = 0.02) versus nonsignificant correlation with FEV1 (r = 0.33), PEF (r = −0.22), and FVC (r = 0.35).
Increase in SVC significantly correlated with dyspnea improvement among ED patients with moderate-to-severe COPD exacerbation. Change in SVC merits consideration when evaluating therapeutic response during COPD exacerbation.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; COPD; dyspnea; emergency department; exacerbation; slow vital capacity; spirometry
Since 2001, Massachusetts state law dictates that emergency department (ED) patients with limited English proficiency have the right to a professional interpreter.
one year later, for two 24-h periods, we interviewed adult patients presenting to four Boston EDs. We assessed language barriers and compared this need with the observed use and type of interpreter during the ED visit.
We interviewed 530 patients (70% of eligible) and estimated that an interpreter was needed for 60 (11%; 95% confidence interval, 7–12%) patients. The primary interpreter for these clinical encounters was a physician (30%), friend or family member age ≥18 years (22%), hospital interpreter services (15%), younger family member (11%), or other hospital staff (17%).
We found that 11% of ED patients had significant language barriers, but use of professional medical interpreters remained low. One year after passage of legislation mandating access, use of professional medical interpreters remained inadequate.
Interpreters; Language barriers; Emergency department; Immigrants
To determine whether the self-reported diagnosis of adults who present to the emergency department (ED) with an acute exacerbation of either asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is validated by medical record review.
This is cross-sectional study of 78 consecutive adults, 55 years and older, presenting to 3 EDs with symptoms suggestive of an exacerbation of asthma or COPD. We used current spirometric guidelines for a “spirometrically validated” diagnosis of COPD (eg, postbronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 second/forced ventilatory capacity b70%). Patients without office spirometry result were classified with COPD using clinical validation based on at least one of the following: primary care physician diagnosis of COPD, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema in the medical record or chest radiography, chest computed tomography, or arterial blood gas (ABG) diagnostic of COPD.
Among 60 patients who self-reported diagnosis of COPD, 98% (95% confidence interval, 89-100) had clinically validated or spirometrically validated COPD. In addition, 83% (95% confidence interval, 59-96) of patients who reported either asthma only or no respiratory disease had clinically validated or spirometrically validated COPD. In no case was the chest radiograph or the ABG useful as a stand-alone test in establishing the diagnosis of COPD.
Patients 55 years and older presenting to the ED with acute asthma or COPD, even those with clinical symptoms but no diagnosis of COPD, are likely to have COPD. Clinicians should maintain a high index of suspicion for COPD when older asthma patients deny COPD.
Brenner, Barry, David Cheng, Sunday Clark, and Carlos A. Camargo, Jr. Positive association between altitude and suicide in 2584 U.S.counties. High Alt. Med. Biol. 12: 31–35 2011.—Suicide is an important public health problem worldwide. Recent preliminary studies have reported a positive correlation between mean altitude and the suicide rate of the 48 contiguous U.S.states. Because intrastate altitude may have large variation, we examined all 2584 U.S. counties to evaluate whether an independent relationship between altitude and suicide exists. We hypothesized that counties at higher elevation would have higher suicide rates. This retrospective study examines 20 yr of county-specific mortality data from 1979 to 1998. County altitude was obtained from the U.S. Geologic Survey. Statistical analysis included Pearson correlation, t tests, and multivariable linear and logistic regression. Although there was a negative correlation between county altitude and all-cause mortality (r = −0.31, p < 0.001), there was a strong positive correlation between altitude and suicide rate (r = 0.50, p < 0.001). Mean altitude differed in the 50 counties, with the highest suicide rates compared to those with the lowest rates (4684 vs. 582 ft, p < 0.001). Controlling for percent of age >50 yr, percent male, percent white, median household income, and population density of each county, the higher-altitude counties had significantly higher suicide rates than the lower-altitude counties. Similar findings were observed for both firearm-related suicides (59% of suicides) and nonfirearm-related suicides. We conclude that altitude may be a novel risk factor for suicide in the contiguous United States.
altitude; suicide; firearm; obesity; hypoxia
As indoor workers, trainee doctors may be at risk for inadequate vitamin D. All trainee doctors (residents) in a Boston pediatric training program (residency) were invited to complete a survey, and undergo testing for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], PTH, and calcium during a 3-week period in March 2010. We examined the association between resident characteristics and serum 25(OH)D using Chi2 and Kruskal-Wallis test and multivariable linear and logistic regression. Of the 119 residents, 102 (86%) participated. Although the mean serum 25(OH)D level was 67 nmol/L (±26), 25 (25%) had a level <50 nmol/L and 3 (3%) residents had levels <25 nmol/L. In the multivariable model, factors associated with 25(OH)D levels were: female sex (β 12.7, 95% CI 3.6, 21.7), white race (β 21.7, 95% CI 11.7, 31.7), travel to more equatorial latitudes during the past 3 months (β 6.3, 95% CI 2.0, 10.5) and higher daily intake of vitamin D (β 1.1, 95% CI 0.04, 2.1). Although one in four residents in our study had a serum 25(OH)D <50 nmol/L, all of them would have been missed using current Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) screening guidelines. The use of traditional risk factors appears insufficient to identify low vitamin D in indoor workers at northern latitudes.
vitamin D; deficiency; residents; indoor workers
Food-induced anaphylaxis may be more difficult to recognize in younger children. We describe age-related patterns in the clinical presentation of children with anaphylaxis, which may facilitate the early recognition and treatment of this potentially life-threatening condition.
food allergy; anaphylaxis; emergency department; infant; child; adolescent
To develop and prospectively validate a risk-adjustment tool in acute asthma.
Data were obtained from two large studies on acute asthma, the Multicenter Airway Research Collaboration (MARC) and the National Emergency Department Safety Study (NEDSS) cohorts. Both studies involved >60 emergency departments (EDs) and were performed during 1996–2001 and 2003–2006, respectively. Both included patients aged 18–54 years presenting to the ED with acute asthma.
Retrospective cohort studies.
Clinical information was obtained from medical record review. The risk index was derived in the MARC cohort and then was prospectively validated in the NEDSS cohort.
There were 3,515 patients in the derivation cohort and 3,986 in the validation cohort. The risk index included nine variables (age, sex, current smoker, ever admitted for asthma, ever intubated for asthma, duration of symptoms, respiratory rate, peak expiratory flow, and number of beta-agonist treatments) and showed satisfactory discrimination (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.75) and calibration (p=.30 for Hosmer–Lemeshow test) when applied to the validation cohort.
We developed and validated a novel risk-adjustment tool in acute asthma. This tool can be used for health care provider profiling to identify outliers for quality improvement purposes.
Asthma; emergency department; hospital admission; profiling; risk adjustment
Simple risk stratification rules are limited in acute asthma. We developed and externally validated a classification tree for asthma hospitalization.
Data were obtained from two large, multicenter studies on acute asthma, the National Emergency Department Safety Study (NEDSS) and the Multicenter Airway Research Collaboration (MARC) cohorts. Both studies involved emergency department (ED) patients aged 18–54 years, presenting to the ED with acute asthma. Clinical information was obtained from medical record review. The classification and regression tree (CART) method was used to generate a simple decision tree. The tree was derived in the NEDSS cohort and then was validated in the MARC cohort.
There were 1,825 patients in the derivation cohort and 1,335 in the validation cohort. Admission rates were 18% and 21% in the derivation and validation cohorts, respectively. The CART method identified four important variables (CHOP): change [C] in peak expiratory flow (PEF) severity category, ever hospitalization [H] for asthma, oxygen [O] saturation on room air, and initial PEF [P]. In a simple 3-step process, the decision rule risk-stratified patients into 7 groups, with a risk of admission ranging from 9% to 48%. The classification tree performed satisfactorily on discrimination in both the derivation and validation cohorts, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.72 and 0.65, respectively.
We developed and externally validated a novel classification tree for hospitalization among ED patients with acute asthma. Use of this explicit risk stratification rule may aid decision-making in the emergency care of acute asthma.
acute asthma; classification tree; emergency department; hospital admission; risk stratification
The safety of inhaled long-acting 2-agonists (LABA) in chronic asthma management remains controversial and has not been evaluated in emergency department (ED) patients with acute asthma.
We hypothesized that ED patients on chronic LABA therapy would have increased risk of asthma-related hospitalization compared to those not on LABA therapy, and that concurrent chronic inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) therapy would mitigate this risk.
Prospective cohort study of patients age 12–54 with acute asthma in 115 EDs. Four patient groups were created based on their chronic asthma regimen: (A) no ICS or salmeterol; (B) salmeterol monotherapy; (C) ICS monotherapy; and (D) combination ICS and salmeterol.
Of the 2,236 included patients, Group A had 1,221 (55%) patients; B 48 (2%); C 787 (35%); and D 180 (8%); 489 (22%) patients required hospitalization. In a multivariable model controlling for 20 factors and using Group A as the reference, Group B had an increased risk of hospitalization (OR 2.2; 95%CI, 1.0–4.9), while Groups C (OR 1.1; 95%CI, 0.8–1.5) and D (OR 1.2; 95%CI, 0.8–1.9) did not.
Among ED patients with acute asthma, those on salmeterol monotherapy had an increased risk of hospitalization, however this risk was not seen among patients on combination ICS-salmeterol therapy. Our findings provide data from a unique ED population on clinical response to acute asthma treatment among patients on chronic LABA therapy.
Asthma; Emergency department; Long-acting β2-agonists; Asthma exacerbation; Salmeterol
In the United States, 35 million people live in food-insecure households. Although food insecurity and hunger are undesirable in their own right, they also are potential precursors to nutritional, health, and developmental problems.
To examine the prevalence of household food insecurity and its association with health problems and medication expenditures among emergency department (ED) patients.
We conducted a cross-sectional study in four Boston-area EDs and enrolled consecutive adult patients during two 24-hour periods at each site. Food security status was measured using the validated 18-item US Household Food Security Survey Module.
Overall, 66 (13%; 95%CI, 10–17%) of 520 ED patients screened positive for food insecurity. Among these 66 patients, 32 (48%; 95% CI, 36–61%) reported food insecurity with hunger. Patients from food-insecure households differed from food-secure patients with respect to sociodemographic factors. Food-insecure patients were more likely than food-secure patients to report a variety of chronic and mental health problems (all P<0.05), including obesity. Food-insecure patients, compared to food-secure patients, also were more likely (all P<0.001) to put off paying for medication to have money for food (27% vs. 4%, respectively), to take medication less often because they couldn’t afford more (32% vs. 4%, respectively), to report needing to make a choice between buying medication and food (27% vs. 2%, respectively), and to report getting sick because they couldn’t afford to take medication (27% vs. 1%, respectively).
ED patients from food-insecure households report more chronic and mental health problems, and difficulty purchasing medication.
food insecurity; hunger; emergency department
The prevalence of food allergy is rising and etiologic factors remain uncertain. Evidence implicates a role of vitamin D in the development of atopic diseases. Based on seasonal patterns of UVB exposure (and consequent vitamin D status), we hypothesized that food allergy patients are more often born in fall or winter.
Investigate whether season of birth is associated with food allergy.
We performed a multicenter chart review of all patients presenting to three Boston emergency departments (EDs) for food-related acute allergic reactions between 1/1/01 and 12/31/06. Months of birth among food allergy patients were compared to those of patients visiting the ED for reasons other than food allergy.
We studied 1,002 food allergy patients. Among younger children with food allergy (age <5 years) – but not among older children or adults – 41% were born in spring/summer compared to 59% in fall/winter (P=0.002). This approximately 40/60 ratio differed from birth season of children treated in the ED for non-food allergy reasons (P=0.002). Children <5 years old born in fall/winter had a 53% higher odds of food allergy compared to controls. This finding was independent of the suspected triggering food and allergic comorbidities.
Food allergy is more common in Boston children who were born in the fall and winter seasons. We propose that these findings are mediated by seasonal differences in UVB exposure. These results add support to the hypothesis that seasonal fluctuations in sunlight and perhaps vitamin D may be involved in the pathogenesis of food allergy.
Food allergy; season of birth; epidemiology; UVB; vitamin D
Despite the frequency of emergency department (ED) visits for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbation, little is known about practice variation in EDs.
To examine the differences between Canadian and United States (US) COPD patients, and the ED management they receive.
A prospective multicentre cohort study was conducted involving 29 EDs in the US and Canada. Using a standard protocol, consecutive ED patients with COPD exacerbations were interviewed, their charts reviewed and a two-week telephone follow-up completed. Comparisons between Canadian and US patients, as well as their treatment and outcomes, were made. Predictors of antibiotic use were determined by multivariate logistic regression.
Of 584 patients who had physician-diagnosed COPD, 397 (68%) were enrolled. Of these, 63 patients (16%) were from Canada. Canadians were older (73 years versus 69 years; P=0.002), more often white (97% versus 65%; P<0.001), less educated (P=0.003) and more commonly insured (P<0.001) than the US patients. US patients more commonly used the ED for their usual COPD medications (17% versus 3%; P=0.005). Although Canadian patients had fewer pack-years of smoking (45 pack-years versus 53 pack-years; P=0.001), current COPD medications and comorbidities were similar. At ED presentation, Canadian patients were more often hypoxic and symptomatic. ED treatment with inhaled beta-agonists (approximately 90%) and systemic corticosteroids (approximately 65%) were similar; Canadians received more antibiotics (46% versus 25%; P<0.001) and other treatments (29% versus 11%; P=0.002). Admission rates were similar in both countries (approximately 65%), although Canadian patients remained in the ED longer than the US patients (10 h versus 5 h, respectively; P<0.001).
Overall, patients with acute COPD in Canada and the US appear to have similar history, ED treatment and outcomes; however, Canadian patients are older and receive more aggressive treatment in the ED. In both countries, the prolonged length of stay and high admission rate contribute to the ED overcrowding crisis facing EDs.
Canada-USA; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Emergency department; Exacerbation
Acute asthma is a common emergency department (ED) presentation in both Canada and the United States.
To compare ED asthma management and outcomes between Canada and the United States.
A prospective cohort study of 69 American and eight Canadian EDs was conducted. Patients aged two to 54 years who presented with acute asthma underwent a structured ED interview and telephone follow-up two weeks later.
A total of 3031 patients were enrolled. Canadian patients were more likely to be white (89% versus 22%; P<0.001), have health insurance (100% versus 69%; P<0.001) and identify a primary care provider (89% versus 64%; P<0.001) than American patients. In addition, Canadian patients were more likely to be using inhaled corticosteroids (63% versus 44%; P<0.001) and had higher initial peak expiratory flow (61% versus 48%; P<0.001). In the ED, Canadians received fewer beta-agonist (one versus two; P<0.001) and more anticholinergic (two versus one; P<0.001) treatments in the first hour; use of systemic corticosteroids was similar (60% versus 68%; P=0.13). Canadians were less likely to be hospitalized (11% versus 21%; P=0.02). Corticosteroids were prescribed similarly at discharge (60% versus 69%; P=0.13); however, Canadians were discharged more commonly on inhaled corticosteroids (63% versus 11%; P<0.001) and relapses were similar.
Canadian patients with acute asthma have fewer barriers to primary care and are more likely to be on preventive medications, both before the ED visit and following discharge. Admissions rates are higher in the United States; however, relapse after discharge is similar between countries. These findings highlight the influences of preventive practices and heath care systems on ED visits for asthma.
Admission; Asthma; Emergency department; Practice variation; Relapse
Little is known about the factors associated with frequency of emergency department visits (FEDV) in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients with recurrent exacerbations.
To characterize the use of emergency department (ED) services in patients with COPD exacerbation and identify factors associated with FEDV.
A prospective, multicenter cohort study.
Three hundred eighty-eight patients were included. Fifty-two percent were women and the median age was 69 years (interquartile range 62–76).
Using a standard questionnaire, consecutive ED patients with COPD exacerbation were interviewed. The number of ED visits in the previous year was retrospectively collected.
Over the past year, this cohort reported a total of 1,090 ED visits because of COPD exacerbation. Thirteen percent of COPD patients had 6 or more ED visits, accounting for 57% of the total ED visits in the past year. Multivariate analysis showed that patients with an increased FEDV were more likely to be Hispanic (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 1.97, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.16–3.33), to have more severe COPD as determined by previous hospitalizations (IRR 2.06, 95% CI 1.51–2.82), prior intubations (IRR 1.49, 95% CI 1.02–2.18), prior use of systemic corticosteroids (IRR 1.57, 95% CI 1.16–2.13) and methylxanthine (IRR 1.48, 95% CI 1.04–2.12), and less likely to have a primary care provider (IRR 0.51, 95% CI 0.31–0.82).
Our results suggest that both disease and health care-related factors were associated with FEDV in COPD exacerbation. Multidisciplinary efforts through primary care provider follow-up should be assessed to test the effects on reducing the high morbidity and cost of recurrent COPD exacerbations.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; emergency department visits; primary care provider; recurrent exacerbation
The relationship between health care insurance and quality of medical care remains incompletely studied. We sought to determine whether type of patient insurance is related to quality of care and subsequent outcomes for patients who arrive in the emergency department (ED) for acute asthma.
Using prospectively collected data from the Multicenter Airway Research Collaboration, we compared measures of quality of pre-ED care, acute severity, and short-term outcomes across 4 insurance categories: managed care, indemnity, Medicaid, and uninsured.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS
Emergency departments at 57 academic medical centers enrolled 1,019 adults with acute asthma.
Patients with managed care ranked first and uninsured patients ranked last on all 7 unadjusted quality measures. After controlling for covariates, uninsured patients had significantly lower quality of care than indemnity patients for 5 of 7 measures and had lower initial peak expiratory flow rates than indemnity insured patients. Patients with managed care insurance were more likely than indemnity-insured patients to identify a primary care physician and report using inhaled steroids in the month prior to arrival in the ED. Patients with Medicaid insurance were more likely than indemnity-insured patients to use the ED as their usual source of care for problems with asthma. We found no differences in patient outcomes among the insurance categories we studied.
Uninsured patients had consistently poorer quality of care and than insured patients. Despite differences in indicators of quality of care between types of insurance, we found no differences in short-term patient outcomes by type of insurance.
asthma; acute asthma; emergency department; primary care; quality; insurance; managed care; length of stay; uninsured; Medicaid