Hospital Readmission Following Childbirth Points to "Very Substantial" Racial Disparity | Connecticut Public Radio

Hospital Readmission Following Childbirth Points to "Very Substantial" Racial Disparity

Nov 18, 2015

When it comes to giving birth, white women have better health care outcomes than black and Hispanic women. That's according to a new study, which examined hospital re-admission rates following delivery in Connecticut. 

It’s relatively uncommon for women to go back to the hospital after they give birth. "This is a population that is younger. Average age was just under 30 and relatively healthy," said Robert Aseltine, a professor at UConn Health.

But, for those that do have complications, black and Hispanic women are about twice as likely as white women to be readmitted in the month after giving birth. Aseltine along with researchers from the Connecticut State Medical Society, looked at eight years of hospital data -- identifying what he called a "very substantial" racial disparity for one of the most common reasons young women get hospitalized.

The results were published in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Why, exactly, that disparity exists is tough to pin to one cause, "but future studies should definitely be looking at the kinds of community-based, hospital-based, and individual factors, that could account for this," said Aseltine.

Lots of women visit hospitals each year to give birth, about 8.5 percent of Connecticut hospital admissions annually, but Aseltine said the rates for readmission following childbirth are low.

Still, the fact that birth is such a common cause of hospitalization in Connecticut could translate to cost savings, if readmission rates are driven down.