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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

CUNY: Do Immigrants Use Emergency Departments for Preventable Visits?

Dr. Jim Stimpson, associate dean for academic affairs at the CUNY School of Public Health, and colleagues examined the differences in using the emergency department for preventable visits between noncitizens, naturalized and U.S.-born citizens in the United States. The findings were published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

[Photo: Dr. Jim Stimpson]

The research team linked the 2008 – 2012 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey with National Health Interview Survey data to draw a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. They used univariate analysis to describe the distribution of preventable emergency department visits identified by the Prevention Quality Indicators (PQIs) across immigration status. They also assessed the association between preventable emergency department visits and immigration status, controlling for demographics, socioeconomic status, health service utilization, and health status.

Of U.S. natives, 2.1% had any preventable emergency department visits within the past years as compared to 1.0% of noncitizens and 1.5% of naturalized citizens. Multivariate results also revealed that immigrant groups, both naturalized citizen and noncitizens, were significantly less likely than citizens of having preventable emergency department visits. Further stratified analysis by insurance status showed these differences were only significant among the uninsured and publicly insured groups. Race/ethnicity and health insurance explained about 68% of the difference in preventable emergency department service utilization between natives and noncitizens.

The team concluded that there are differences in preventable emergency department visits across immigration status.

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