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South Med J. 2003 Sep;96(9):850-8.

Potentially preventable care: ambulatory care-sensitive pediatric hospitalizations in South Carolina in 1998.

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  • 1Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.



We examined pediatric hospitalizations to assess personal and community factors affecting potentially preventable ambulatory care-sensitive condition (ACSC) hospitalizations.


Data came from the South Carolina 1998 Hospital Inpatient Encounter Database, which yielded 10,156 ACSC discharges among 81,808 pediatric hospitalizations. Analyses were performed at three levels: ACSC as a percentage of all hospitalizations, ACSC patients compared with other patients, and county ACSC rates.


Younger, male, and nonwhite children; children with Medicaid insurance coverage; and children living in rural areas, health professional shortage area-designated counties, and poorer counties with fewer heath care resources were more likely to be hospitalized with ACSCs. A high percentage of children living in poverty and an absence of federally qualified community health centers were predictive of high county ACSC rates.


Poverty and the absence of a provider serving low-income children increase ACSC rates. Monitoring changes in ACSC rates can be a tool for studying the effects of policy change.

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