Universal insurance and an equal access healthcare system eliminate disparities for Black patients after traumatic injury

Muhammad Ali Chaudhary, Meesha Sharma, Rebecca E. Scully, Daniel J. Sturgeon, Tracey Koehlmoos, Adil H. Haider, Andrew J. Schoenfeld*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Background: Although inequities in trauma care are reported widely, some groups have theorized that universal health insurance would decrease disparities in care for disadvantaged minorities after a traumatic injury. We sought to examine the presence of racial disparities in outcomes and healthcare utilization at 30- and 90-days after discharge in this universally insured, racially diverse, American population treated for traumatic injuries. Methods: This work studied adult beneficiaries of TRICARE treated at both military and civilian trauma centers 2006–2014. We included patients with an inpatient trauma encounter based on International Classification of Diseases, 9th revision (ICD-9) code. The mechanism and severity of injury, medical comorbidities, region and environment of care, and demographic factors were used as covariates. Race was considered the main predictor variable with Black patients compared to Whites. Logistic regression models were employed to assess for risk-adjusted differences in 30- and 90-day outcomes between Blacks and Whites. Results: A total of 87,112 patients met the inclusion criteria. Traditionally encountered disparities for Black patients after trauma, including increased rates of mortality, were absent. We found a statistically significant decrease in the odds of 90-day complications for Blacks (OR 0.91; 95% CI 0.84–0.98; P = 0.01). Blacks also had lesser odds of readmission at 30-days (OR 0.87; 95% CI 0.79–0.94; P = 0.002) and 90-days (OR 0.86; 95% CI 0.79–0.93; P < 0.001). Conclusion: Our findings support the idea that in a universally insured, equal access system, historic disparities for racial and ethnic minorities, including increased postinjury morbidity, hospital readmission, and postdischarge healthcare utilization, are decreased or even eliminated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-656
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


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