Variation in hospital discharges for ambulatory care-sensitive conditions among children

Pediatrics. 2000 Oct;106(4 Suppl):942-8.


Objective: Ambulatory Care-Sensitive Conditions (ACSCs), conditions for which ambulatory care may reduce, though not eliminate, the need for hospital admission, have been used as an index of adequate primary care. However, few studies of ACSC have focused on children. We estimated national hospitalization rates for ACSC among children and examined the behavior of the index between subgroups of children.

Methods: We used data from the 1990-1995 National Hospital Discharge Surveys (NHDS), the US census, and the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) to calculate hospital discharge rates. Rates were estimated as the number of condition-specific hospital discharges from the NHDS divided by the population at risk, as estimated from the US census and NHIS.

Results: Predictably, ACSC hospitalization rates were significantly higher among children who were younger, black, had Medicaid insurance, and lived in poorer areas compared with their counterparts. However, the relationship between ACSCs and income and the distributions of conditions within the index varied significantly between children.

Conclusions: ACSCs may indicate disparities in access and utilization of health care, however, the differing behavior of the index between subgroups suggests that inferences from examining rates of ACSCs may not be comparable for all children.ambulatory care-sensitive conditions, hospitalization rates.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Ambulatory Care*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Surveys
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Insurance, Health
  • Medicaid
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States