Objectives: This study was designed to determine whether resource use and mortality differed by insurance status for patients with acute trauma.
Methods: All adults emergently hospitalized in Massachusetts during 1990 with acute trauma (n = 15,008) were examined.
Results: After adjustment for confounders, uninsured patients were as likely to receive care in an intensive care unit as were patients with private insurance (odds ratio [OR] = 0.97, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.85, 1.11) but were less likely to undergo an operative procedure (OR = 0.68, 95% CI = 0.63, 0.74) or physical therapy (OR = 0.61, 95% CI = 0.57,0.67) and were more likely to die in a hospital (OR = 2.15, 95% CI = 1.44, 3.19). Compared with patients with private insurance, those with Medicaid were less likely to receive an operative procedure (0.85, 0.75-0.97), were equally likely to receive care in an intensive care unit (OR = 1.05, 95% CI = 0.86, 1.30) or physical therapy (OR = 0.90, 95% CI = 0.79, 1.02), and were no more likely to die (OR = 1.28, 95% CI = 0.69,2.39).
Conclusions: These results suggest that the uninsured receive less trauma-related care and have a higher mortality rate. The excess mortality in uninsured patients may be avoided if their resource use is increased to that of insured patients.