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Shorter Hospital Stays for Uninsured Patients Compared to Insured

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, April 18, 2011

From 2003 to 2008 uninsured hospitalizations for skin infections increased by 55% while hospital stays for gallbladder disease posted a 43% increase and diabetes complications increased by 40%. Uninsured alcohol-related hospitalizations, which posted a significant 18% decline from 1998 to 2003, increased by 35% from 2003 to 2008.

Davis noted that in general the severity of illness was lower for uninsured versus insured hospitalizations. For example, the uninsured had fewer chronic conditions per patient (2.5 vs. 3.5).

Geographically, a larger share of hospital stays in the South were uninsured (7.6 percent) compared to 4.9 percent in the Midwest, 3.6 percent in the West and 3.2 percent in the Northeast, the data showed.

Uninsured hospitalizations accounted for 8.3 percent of stays in public hospitals but only 4.7% of stays in private, nonprofit hospitals.

Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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