Asthma-Related Emergency Department Visits Among Low-Income Families With Young Children by Race/Ethnicity and Primary Language

OBJECTIVE The aim of this study was to examine the existence of racial/ethnic and language disparities in asthma-related emergency department (ED) initial and return visits among young children in low-income families in California.
METHODS Children younger than 6 years with at least 1 asthma-related ED visit recorded in the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development data set between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2013, and on Medicaid (Medi-Cal) were assessed. Primary outcomes were hospitalization at the first asthma-related ED visit and a return asthma-related ED visit within 12 months. Data were analyzed using multivariate logistic regression.
RESULTS Among 47,657 children, approximately 55% were Hispanic, 20% were black, and 2.7% were Asian/Pacific Islander. For non-English-speaking families, 82% were Hispanic. Among English-speaking families, blacks were less likely to be hospitalized at the first ED visit (odds ratio [OR], 0.787; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.715-0.866) but more likely to return to the ED (OR, 1.291; 95% CI, 1.205-1.383) compared with whites. Conversely, Asian/Pacific Islanders whose primary language was English were more likely to be hospitalized (OR, 2.150; 95% CI, 1.827-2.530) compared with whites. Among families whose primary language was not English, Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islanders are more likely to be hospitalized at the first ED visit and all groups are less likely to return to the ED compared with English-speaking whites.
CONCLUSIONS The findings suggest that racial/ethnic and language disparities exist in eventual asthma-related hospitalizations and repeat ED visits. Continued research is needed to understand the existence of these differences and to inform future comprehensive and linguistically appropriate asthma interventions for children in low-income families.

as reported in: Pediatr Emerg Care. 2019 Jan 21 [Epub ahead of print]