Associate professor of public health and corresponding author, Annie Ro, PhD, from the UCI Program in Public Health, led a study that compared the severity of inpatient hospitalizations between undocumented immigrants and Medi-Cal patients in Los Angeles, Calif. Findings from the study suggest that younger undocumented patients had less severe illness and shorter lengths of stay than their Medi-Cal counterparts.
Results were published in the American Journal of Public Health.
By analyzing 2019 hospitalization data from over 22,000 patients in the largest safety-net hospital in Los Angeles, Ro and collaborators were able to calculate the differences in illness severity, length of stay and repeat hospitalizations between the two groups.
Additionally, they found that older undocumented immigrants also had less severe illness but had similar lengths of stay and were more likely to have repeated hospitalizations than older Medi-Cal patients.
“Our hope is that this study’s outcomes will help inform public health policy aimed at reducing disparities in inpatient hospitalizations among undocumented immigrants,” Ro said. “We know that undocumented immigrants tend to underutilize health care in the outpatient setting. Our findings illuminate their health needs in the inpatient setting and underscore the need for equitable health care access.”
Co-investigators included Helen W. Yang, MD; Courtney L. Hanlon, MD, MS; and Andrew Shane Young, DO from the Keck School of Medicine of USC, as well as USC medical student Senxi Du.