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Adv Data. 2006 Feb 28;(367):1-16.

Availability of pediatric services and equipment in emergency departments: United States, 2002-03.

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Division of Health Care Statistics, US Department of Health And Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD 20782, USA.



This report presents estimates on the availability of pediatric services, expertise, and supplies for treating pediatric emergencies in U.S. hospitals.


The Emergency Pediatric Services and Equipment Supplement (EPSES) was a self-administered questionnaire added to the 2002-03 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS). NHAMCS samples non-Federal, short-stay and general hospitals in the United States. The EPSES content was based on the 2001 guidelines for pediatric services, medical expertise, small-sized supplies, and equipment for emergency departments (EDs) developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). Combined response rate for both years was 86 percent. Estimates were weighted to produce average annual estimates of pediatric services, expertise, and equipment availability in EDs.


One-half of hospitals (52.9 percent) admitted pediatric patients, but did not have a specialized inpatient pediatric ward. One-third (38.3 percent) admitted pediatric patients and had a separate pediatric ward; the remainder did not admit pediatric patients. Among those that did not admit pediatric cases, 30.4 percent were in counties that had a children's hospital. One-quarter of EDs had access 24 hours and 7 days a week to a board-certified pediatric emergency medicine attending physician. Only 5.5 percent had all recommended pediatric supplies, but one-half had greater than 85 percent of recommended supplies. Most hospitals without pediatric trauma service (90.7 percent) or pediatric intensive care units (97.5 percent) transferred critical pediatric patients to hospitals with these services. EDs in hospitals with specialized inpatient facilities for children were more likely to meet the AAP and ACEP guidelines for pediatric ED services, expertise, and supplies.

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