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West J Emerg Med. 2018 Mar;19(2):301-310. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2017.10.34949. Epub 2018 Feb 19.

Inpatient Trauma Mortality after Implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Illinois.

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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Chicago, Illinois.



Illinois hospitals have experienced a marked decrease in the number of uninsured patients after implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, the full impact of health insurance expansion on trauma mortality is still unknown. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of ACA insurance expansion on trauma patients hospitalized in Illinois.


We performed a retrospective cohort study of 87,001 trauma inpatients from third quarter 2010 through second quarter 2015, which spans the implementation of the ACA in Illinois. We examined the effects of insurance expansion on trauma mortality using multivariable Poisson regression.


There was no significant difference in mortality comparing the post-ACA period to the pre-ACA period incident rate ratio (IRR)=1.05 (95% confidence interval [CI] [0.93-1.17]). However, mortality was significantly higher among the uninsured in the post-ACA period when compared with the pre-ACA uninsured population IRR=1.46 (95% CI [1.14-1.88]).


While the ACA has reduced the number of uninsured trauma patients in Illinois, we found no significant decrease in inpatient trauma mortality. However, the group that remains uninsured after ACA implementation appears to be particularly vulnerable. This group should be studied in order to reduce disparate outcomes after trauma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of Interest: By the WestJEM article submission agreement, all authors are required to disclose all affiliations, funding sources and financial or management relationships that could be perceived as potential sources of bias. No author has professional or financial relationships with any companies that are relevant to this study. There are no conflicts of interest or sources of funding to declare.

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