Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Adult; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Binomial Distribution; Databases, Factual; Diagnostic Imaging (methods, statistics & numerical data); Female; Healthcare Disparities (ethnology, statistics & numerical data); Hospitalization; Humans; Insurance, Health (classification); Male; Middle Aged; Retrospective Studies; Severity of Illness Index; Trauma Centers; United States; Young Adult



Research has shown that uninsured patients receive fewer radiographic studies during trauma care, but less is known as to whether differences in care are present among other insurance groups or across different time points during hospitalization. Our objective was to examine the number of radiographic studies administered to a cohort of trauma patients over the entire hospital stay as well as during the first 24-hours of care.


Patient data were obtained from an American College of Surgeons (ACS) verified Level I Trauma Center between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2012. We used negative binomial regression to construct relative risk (RR) ratios for type and frequency of radiographic imaging received among persons with Medicare, Medicaid, no insurance, or government insurance plans in reference to those with commercial indemnity plans. The analysis was adjusted for patient age, sex, race/ethnicity, injury severity score, injury mechanism, comorbidities, complications, hospital length of stay, and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admission.


A total of 3621 records from surviving patients age > =18 years were assessed. After adjustment for potential confounders, the expected number of radiographic studies decreased by 15 % among Medicare recipients (RR 0.85, 95 % CI 0.78-0.93), 11 % among Medicaid recipients (0.89, 0.81-0.99), 10 % among the uninsured (0.90, 0.85-0.96) and 19 % among government insurance groups (0.81, 0.72-0.90), compared with the reference group. This disparity was observed during the first 24-hours of care among patients with Medicare (0.78, 0.71-0.86) and government insurance plans (0.83, 0.74-0.94). Overall, there were no differences in the number of radiographic studies among the uninsured or among Medicaid patients during the first 24-hours of care compared with the reference group, but differences were observed among the uninsured in a sub-analysis of severely injured patients (ISS > 15).


Both uninsured and insured patients treated at a not-for-profit verified Level I Trauma Center receive fewer radiographic studies than patients with commercial indemnity plans, even after adjusting for clinical and demographic confounders. There is less disparity in care during the first 24-hours, which suggests that patient pathology is the determining factor for radiographic evaluation during the acute care phase. Results from this study offer initial evidence of disparity in diagnostic imaging across multiple insurance groups over different periods of trauma care.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


© The Author(s). 2018 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

APA Citation

Bell, N., Lòpez-DeFede, A., Wilkerson, R. C., & Mayfield-Smith, K. (2018). Precision of provider licensure data for mapping member accessibility to Medicaid Managed Care Provider Networks. BMC Health Services Research, 18(1).

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