The Child Opportunity Index 2.0 and Hospitalizations for Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions

Pediatrics. 2021 Aug;148(2):e2020032755. doi: 10.1542/peds.2020-032755. Epub 2021 Jul 2.


Background and objectives: Hospitalizations for ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSCs) are thought to be avoidable with high-quality outpatient care. Morbidity related to ACSCs has been associated with socioeconomic contextual factors, which do not necessarily capture the complex pathways through which a child's environment impacts health outcomes. Our primary objective was to test the association between a multidimensional measure of neighborhood-level child opportunity and pediatric hospitalization rates for ACSCs across 2 metropolitan areas.

Methods: This was a retrospective population-based analysis of ACSC hospitalizations within the Kansas City and Cincinnati metropolitan areas from 2013 to 2018. Census tracts were included if located in a county where Children's Mercy Kansas City or Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center had >80% market share of hospitalizations for children <18 years. Our predictor was child opportunity as defined by a composite index, the Child Opportunity Index 2.0. Our outcome was hospitalization rates for 8 ACSCs.

Results: We included 604 943 children within 628 census tracts. There were 26 977 total ACSC hospitalizations (46 hospitalizations per 1000 children; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 45.4-46.5). The hospitalization rate for all ACSCs revealed a stepwise reduction from 79.9 per 1000 children (95% CI: 78.1-81.7) in very low opportunity tracts to 31.2 per 1000 children (95% CI: 30.5-32.0) in very high opportunity tracts (P < .001). This trend was observed across cities and diagnoses.

Conclusions: Links between ACSC hospitalizations and child opportunity extend across metropolitan areas. Targeting interventions to lower-opportunity neighborhoods and enacting policies that equitably bolster opportunity may improve child health outcomes, reduce inequities, and decrease health care costs.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals, Pediatric
  • Humans
  • Kansas
  • Male
  • Ohio
  • Retrospective Studies