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U.S. Hospitals Treat Many Uninsured Victims of Car Crashes, Violence, and Other Injuries

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: July 18, 2006

Hospital stays for the uninsured are more likely to be for treatment of injuries compared with the stays of privately insured patients, according to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

  • AHRQ found that injuries accounted for 11.3 percent of the 1.7 million uninsured hospital admissions in 2003—roughly 192,000 cases. This rate was almost three times the rate for privately insured patients.
  • Right behind injuries came mental health and mood disorders. They accounted for nearly 11 percent of uninsured hospital stays. In fact, mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder, as well as alcohol abuse and substance abuse ranked among the top 10 reasons for hospitalizing the uninsured.
  • Asthma and diabetes—chronic conditions than can be controlled with good quality primary care—also ranked high among uninsured hospital patients.
  • Only childbirth surpassed all these conditions as the leading reason for admitting uninsured patients to hospitals. Roughly one in five uninsured hospital stays were for women giving birth.

These and other statistics are presented in Conditions Related to Uninsured Hospitalizations, 2003, HCUP Statistical Brief No. 8, available at The report uses statistics from HCUP's Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

For more information on this data, or to speak to the authors, contact Bob Isquith at or call (301) 427-1539.


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