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Race-related Healthcare Disparities Among California Workers: Public Health Considerations for Immigration Reform



Healthcare disparities are prevalent in medicine and identifying them will provide healthcare professionals, administrators, and policy makers needed information to address this public health concern.


To evaluate racial and ethnic disparities in the rates of hospital admission and death among California workers.


We performed an analysis of hospital and emergency department (ED) data from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD). Data was collected from California licensed acute care hospitals from 2008-2010.

Inclusion criteria

patients >15 years of age whose expected source of payment was worker's compensation.

Exclusion criteria

patients <15 years; had missing data for age, sex, race, or injury; or were injured by a suicide attempt, poisoning, or complication of medical procedure. Multivariate logistic regression was used to evaluate the relationship of race/ethnicity and admission/death rates.


There were 393,298 patients discharged from the ED and 23,343 patients admitted from ED had workers compensation as their expected sources of payment and 150,277 met our inclusion criteria. The annual rate of ED treated injuries was 209/100,000 for Caucasians 343/100,000 for Hispanics, 258/100,000 for blacks and 97/100,000 for Asians. Compared to Caucasians, admission odds ratios (OR) were 1.15 (95% CI 1.07-1.25) for Hispanics, 1.08 (95% CI 0.87-1.33) for blacks, and 0.78 (95% CI 0.63-0.97) for Asians.


We observed race and ethnicity related healthcare disparities among the occupationally injured in California, with Hispanics having the highest odds of admission and annual incidence of ED treated injuries. No difference in mortality rates was observed.

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