My Own Project: ER and preventable care admits

So I finally finished my own project. I used the same data I’ve been working with (quarterly inpatient data from Florida), but now only focusing on two types of patients: ER admits and patients with preventable conditions. Preventable conditions are diagnoses for which timely and effective ambulatory care reduces the risks of hospitalization by either preventing the onset of or managing an illness or condition. Examples include pneumonia, congestive heart failure, asthma, and immunizable conditions. As a result, preventable conditions are frequently used as a measure of health care access and so I hypothesized that during a recession there would be more of these types of conditions. ER admits are an important subgroup because hospitals must provide everyone with a minimum degree of service even if the patient has no insurance and cannot pay. The ER is the only part of a hospital that is required to treat everyone, so I hypothesized that during a recession there would be more ER admits. My dependent variables of interest are the number of ER admits, preventable condition admits, and PC through ER admits for each hospital. My explanatory variables were the county unemployment rate and county population controls and hospital and time controls. When I only looked at the effect of unemployment on ER or PC admits, the effect was not significantly different from zero. However, when I looked at patients that met both criteria, the effect was positive and significant. In other words, during recessions there are more ER admits with diseases that could have been prevented with proper health care.



  1. This is a very interesting topic, especially during the heart of the health care debate since it is a fundamental issue with out health care system. Preventive treatment obviously is much cheaper in the long run since it can often avoid the high costs of ER trips and costly surgeries, yet people without insurance are forced to bypass primary care since they cannot afford it, ultimately costing more money that hospitals and taxpayers have to pay for. It’s an interesting dilemma and I like that you managed to make a specific measure to test the effects of poverty on ER trips.

  2. Daniel Robinson says:

    Those are some very interesting findings! Also, I didn’t know that hospitals had to treat ER patients without insurance.