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J Natl Med Assoc. 2006 May;98(5):690-4.

Charges for hospital admissions attributable to health disparities for African-American patients, 1998-2002.

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Department of Pharmacy and Clinical Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA.



Racial disparities exist across most major disease categories, which result in a disproportionately large number of hospital admissions for many conditions. Estimates for the financial impact of the racial admission differences for the State of South Carolina are assessed.


South Carolina hospital discharge data for 1998-2002 was used for the analysis. The database includes all-payer billing data for inpatient hospital admissions as received on the UB-92 billing file for the covered episode. Charges were inflation adjusted to 2002 constant dollars.


For 1998-2002, there were an estimated dollar 1.6 billion in total charges for hospital admissions in South Carolina that were attributed to higher age-adjusted admission rates for African-American patients. In addition, African Americans had consistently higher hospital admission rates for disease categories that are often associated with a failure to obtain ambulatory and preventive care.


This simple analysis reveals that age-adjusted hospital admission rates for African Americans in South Carolina are higher than for Caucasians, and the gap appears to be widening over time. Given the magnitude of the financial implication, interventions with even a small impact on the conditions underlying the racial disparities in hospital admissions are likely to be cost effective.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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