Increased Healthcare Utilization by Patients With Inflammatory Bowel DiseaseCovered by Medicaid at a Tertiary Care Center

Axelrad JE1, Sharma R2, Laszkowska M2, Packey C2, Rosenberg R2, Lebwohl B2. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2019 Apr 16. pii: izz060. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izz060. [Epub ahead of print]


Author information

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, Division of Gastroenterology, NYU Langone Health, New York, New York, USA.

Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, USA.


BACKGROUND: Low socioeconomic status has been linked with numerous poor health outcomes, but data are limited regarding the impact of insurance status on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) outcomes. We aimed to characterize utilization of healthcare resources by IBD patients based on health insurance status, using Medicaid enrollment as a proxy for low socioeconomic status.

METHODS: We retrospectively identified adult patients with IBD engaged in a colorectal cancer surveillance colonoscopy program from July 2007 to June 2017. Our primary outcomes included emergency department (ED) visits, inpatient hospitalizations, biologic infusions, and steroid exposure, stratified by insurance status. We compared patients who had ever been enrolled in Medicaid with all other patients.

RESULTS: Of 947 patients with IBD, 221 (23%) had been enrolled in Medicaid. Compared with patients with other insurance types, patients with Medicaid had higher rates of ever being admitted to the hospital (77.6% vs 42.6%, P < 0.0001) or visiting the ED (90.5% vs 38.4%, P < 0.0001). When adjusted for sex, age at first colonoscopy, and ethnicity, patients with Medicaid had a higher rate of inpatient hospitalizations (Rate ratio [RR] 2.95; 95% CI 2.59-3.36) and ED visits (RR 4.24; 95% CI 3.82-4.70) compared to patients with other insurance. Patients with Medicaid had significantly higher prevalence of requiring steroids (62.4% vs 37.7%, P < 0.0001), and after adjusting for the same factors, the odds of requiring steroids in the patients with Medicaid was increased (OR 3.77; 95% CI 2.53-5.62).

CONCLUSIONS: Medicaid insurance was a significant predictor of IBD care and outcomes. Patients with Medicaid may have less engagement in IBD care and seek emergency care more often.

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