Fewer immigrants have preventable ED visits in the United States

Yang Wang, Fernando A. Wilson, Jim P. Stimpson, Hongmei Wang, David W. Palm, Baojiang Chen, Li Wu Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study is to examine differences in having preventable emergency department (ED) visits between noncitizens, naturalized and US-born citizens in the United States. Methods: We linked the 2008–2012 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey with National Health Interview Survey data to draw a nationally representative sample of US adults. Univariate analysis described distribution of preventable ED visits identified by the Prevention Quality Indicators across immigration status. We also assessed the association between preventable ED visits and immigration status, controlling for demographics, socioeconomic status, health service utilization, and health status. We finally applied the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition method to measure the contribution of each covariate to differences in preventable ED services utilization between US natives, naturalized citizens, and noncitizens. Results: Of US natives, 2.1% had any preventable ED visits within the past years as compared to 1.0% of noncitizens and 1.5% of naturalized citizens. Multivariate results also revealed that immigrants groups had significantly lower odds (adjusted OR: naturalized citizen 0.77 [0.61–0.96], noncitizen 0.62 [0.48–0.80]) of having preventable ED visits than natives. Further stratified analysis by insurance status showed these differences were only significant among the uninsured and public insurance groups. Race/ethnicity and health insurance explained about 68% of the difference in preventable ED service utilization between natives and noncitizens. Conclusion: Our study documents the existing differences in preventable ED visits across immigration status, and highlights the necessity to explore unmet health needs among immigrants and eliminate disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-358
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Healthcare disparities
  • Immigrants
  • Preventable ED visits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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