Patients with limited English proficiency have known limitations accessing health care in the United States, including access to hospital care, but those limitations don’t appear to increase the risk of mortality, according to an AHRQ-funded study. “Disparities in Rates of Inpatient Mortality and Adverse Events: Race/Ethnicity and Language as Independent Contributors” appeared December 12, 2014, in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Authors of the study, the largest study of language and inpatient mortality and obstetric trauma among hospital patients to date, include AHRQ’s Ernest Moy, M.D., and former AHRQ staff member Roxanne Andrews, Ph.D. Researchers examined rates of inpatient mortality and obstetric trauma across language groups—English, Spanish and languages of Asia and the Pacific Islands—and compared patterns of variation in quality of care by language with patterns by race and ethnicity. Most outcomes were similar, with the exception of higher stroke mortality for Japanese-speaking patients and higher rates of obstetric trauma among patients who did not speak English. Using 2009 data from AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, researchers examined nearly 3.8 million California inpatient records.
Study Finds No Link Between Limited English Proficiency and Increased Risk of Mortality
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