Impact of a National Quality Collaborative on Pediatric Asthma Care Quality by Insurance Status

Acad Pediatr. 2021 Aug;21(6):1018-1024. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2021.02.009. Epub 2021 Feb 17.


Objective: To assess whether disparities in asthma care and outcomes based on insurance type existed before a national quality improvement (QI) collaborative, and to determine the effects of the collaborative on these disparities.

Methods: Secondary analysis of data from Pathways for Improving Pediatric Asthma Care (PIPA), a national collaborative to standardize emergency department (ED) and inpatient asthma management. PIPA included children aged 2 to 17 with a diagnosis of asthma. Disparities were examined based on insurance status (public vs private). Outcomes included guideline adherence and health care utilization measures, assessed for 12 months before and 15 months after the start of PIPA.

Results: We analyzed 19,204 ED visits and 11,119 hospitalizations from 89 sites. At baseline, children with public insurance were more likely than those with private insurance to receive early administration of corticosteroids (52.3% vs 48.9%, P= .01). However, they were more likely to be admitted (20.0% vs 19.4%, P = .01), have longer inpatient length of stay (31 vs 29 hours, P = .01), and have a readmission/ED revisit within 30 days (7.4% vs 5.6%, P = .02). We assessed the effects of PIPA on these disparities by insurance status and found no significant changes across 6 guideline adherence and 4 health care utilization measures.

Conclusion: At baseline, children with public insurance had higher asthma health care utilization than those with private insurance, despite receiving more evidence-based care. The PIPA collaborative did not affect pre-existing disparities in asthma outcomes. Future research should identify effective strategies for leveraging QI to better address disparities.

Keywords: asthma; health care disparities; pediatrics; quality improvement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Asthma* / drug therapy
  • Child
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage*
  • Quality of Health Care