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Uninsured, medicaid patients more likely to die from heart attack

low-income area and were either uninsured or covered by Medicaid) not only were more likely to die, but also were sicker, stayed in the hospital longer, were less likely to receive certain procedures for heart disease and had higher hospital bills when compared to private insurance patients who lived in more affluent neighborhoods.

"Patients with inferior insurance status may have other illnesses or more advanced disease as a result of financial limitations on sources and access to primary, preventive or even urgent care," Shen explains.

Changing national policies to promote better medical care for uninsured and underinsured individuals could result in reduced deaths from heart attack for all Americans, says Shen.

In addition to the ethical concerns, he points out that "these data demonstrate that disadvantaged patients experienced greater lengths of hospital stay, greater charges, as well as inferior outcomes. An increased focus on improving treatment of heart attack patients bearing multiple low socioeconomic attributes may be in the public interest from a cost-effectiveness perspective."


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Contact: Carolyn Dennis
c-dennis@govst.edu
708-534-6366
Center for the Advancement of Health
1-Aug-2001


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