Healthcare Business News
Peter Pronovost
Peter Pronovost

Lack of insurance appears tied to higher hospital death rates for children: study

By Rebecca Vesely
Posted: October 31, 2009 - 12:01 am ET

Uninsured children are 60% more likely to die in the hospital than insured children regardless of medical condition, according to a large-scale study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

Lack of health insurance may have contributed to nearly 17,000 deaths among hospitalized children nationwide in the past 20 years, they concluded.

Researchers compared health insurance coverage and risk of death in children using 23 million hospital records from 37 states between 1988 and 2005. Although they could not make a direct link between health insurance and risk of dying, they said they did find a powerful connection between the two. Insurance status did not affect how long a child remained hospitalized, they said in the study, published in the Journal of Public Health.

Advertisement | View Media Kit


About 7.3 million children were uninsured nationwide in 2008, or nearly 10% of all children, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Thousands of children die needlessly each year because we lack a health system that provides them health insurance. This should not be,” said co-investigator Peter Pronovost, director of Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins and medical director of the Center for Innovations in Quality Patient Care, in a statement.

What do you think? Post a comment on this article and share your opinion with other readers. Submit your comments to Modern Healthcare Online at Please be sure to include your hometown and state, along with your organization and title.



Switch to the new Modern Healthcare Daily News app

For the best experience of on your iPad, switch to the new Modern Healthcare app — it's optimized for your device but there is no need to download.