The Role of Socioeconomic Status in Individuals that Leave Against Medical Advice.

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The Role of Socioeconomic Status in Individuals that Leave Against Medical Advice.

S D Med. 2018 May;71(5):214-219

Authors: Yuan S, Ashmore S, Chaudhary KR, Hsu B, Puumala SE

INTRODUCTION: Individuals leaving against medical advice (AMA) are at risk for adverse health outcomes including a 40 percent increased mortality rate a year after self-discharge. Additionally, leaving AMA may dramatically increase medical costs due to failure to complete treatment resulting in higher risk of readmission with additional co-morbidities.
METHODS: Retrospective study of inpatients utilizing the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) 2012 National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database. Primary outcome of interest was discharge type (AMA versus non-AMA) examined against primary payer type, patient and hospital characteristics. Analysis performed on the weighted discharges using Proc Surverylogistic. Statistical significance set at p less than 0.05. All analysis was performed in SAS version 9.4 (SAS Institute).
RESULTS: After adjustment for possible cofounders and socioeconomic factors, there were increased odds of leaving against medical advice in those that lacked insurance (ORadj = 4.16, p less than 0.001) or had Medicare (ORadj = 2.10, p less than 0.001) or Medicaid (ORadj = 2.94, p less than 0.001). Compared to individuals in the lower income brackets, groups with higher incomes had a 20-30 percent decrease in leaving AMA. However, in comparison to white individuals, black (ORadj = 1.023, p = 0.2688) and Native Americans (ORadj = 0.994, p=0.9322) were not at an increased risk of leaving AMA. Hispanic (ORadj = 0.665, p less than 0.001) and the Asian/Pacific Islander (ORadj = 0.56, p less than 0.001) groups had decreased odds of leaving AMA.
CONCLUSION: Groups at risk for leaving AMA were individuals lacking insurance, having public insurance, and those within the 0-25th percentile in income. Although ethnicity does play a factor in leaving against medical advice, our data indicates that the gap is not as extreme as previously stated. Additional work needs to be done to help health care providers set targeted preventative measures to address those at increased risk for leaving AMA in order to provide a higher standard of care for the patient.

PMID: 29999607 [PubMed - in process]

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