Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Acute Care Use for Pediatric Asthma

Jorge Kaufmann, Miguel Marino, Jennifer Lucas, Steffani R. Bailey, Sophia Giebultowicz, Jon Puro, David Ezekiel-Herrera, Shakira F. Suglia, John Heintzman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


PURPOSE Previous work has shown that asthma-related emergency department (ED) use is greatest among Black and Latine populations, but it is unknown whether health care use for exacerbations differs across settings (outpatient, ED, inpatient) and correlates with use of routine outpatient services. We aimed to measure disparities by race, ethnicity, and language in pediatric acute asthma care using data from US primary care community health centers. METHODS In an observational study using electronic health records from community health centers in 18 states, we compared non-Hispanic Black, English-preferring Latine, Spanish-preferring Latine, and non-Hispanic White children aged 3 to 17 years on visits for clinic-coded asthma exacerbations (2012-2018). We further evaluated asthma-related ED use and inpatient admissions in a subsample of Oregon-Medicaid recipients. Covariate-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and rate ratios (RRs) were derived using logistic or negative binomial regression analysis with generalized estimating equations. RESULTS Among 41,276 children with asthma, Spanish-preferring Latine children had higher odds of clinic visits for asthma exacerbation than non-Hispanic White peers (OR=1.10; 95% CI, 1.02-1.18). Among the subsample of 6,555 children insured under Oregon-Medicaid, non-Hispanic Black children had higher odds and rates of asthma-related ED use than non-Hispanic White peers (OR=1.40; 95% CI, 1.04-1.89 and RR=1.49; 95% CI, 1.09-2.04, respectively). We observed no differences between groups in asthma-related inpatient admissions. CONCLUSIONS This study is the first to show that patterns of clinic and ED acute-care use differ for non-Hispanic Black and Spanish-preferring Latine children when compared with non-Hispanic White peers. Non-Hispanic Black children had lower use of clinics, whereas Spanish-preferring Latine children had higher use, including for acute exacerbations. These patterns of clinic use were accompanied by higher ED use among Black children. Ensuring adequate care in clinics may be important in mitigating disparities in asthma outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-122
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of family medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • asthma
  • child health
  • community health center
  • health care utilization
  • health disparity, minority and vulnerable populations
  • pediatric asthma
  • practice-based research
  • primary care
  • racial/ethnic disparities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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