Medi-Cal Beneficiaries, Uninsured Have Higher Hospital Death Rates
Uninsured Californians and Medi-Cal beneficiaries are significantly more likely to die during hospital stays than Californians with private health insurance coverage, according to a report released last week by California's Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
The report found that uninsured patients are 80% more likely to die at hospitals than patients with private insurance and that Medi-Cal beneficiaries are 60% more likely to die in hospitals than people with private coverage.
The report's findings are based on death certificates and other information on all patients hospitalized in the state in 2006.Â It does not offer an explanation for the disparity in death rates.
Overall, the report found that 2.1% of California hospital stays resulted in death, compared with 2.5% nationwide.
An OSHPD spokesperson said that the difference could be attributed to better access to preventive care among people with private coverage, resulting in people with private coverage being in better physical condition when they enter a hospital.The report also detailed children's death rates in hospitals and Californians' use of advance health care directives (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 11/26). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.