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AHRQ Stats: Pediatric Emergency Department Visits

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Pediatric emergency department (ED) visits constitute roughly 20 percent of all ED visits. Infants and children under age 5 accounted for more than 40 percent of pediatric emergency department visits in 2015. The number and rate of pediatric ED visits are compared with adult ED visits in 2015 for three visit types: all ED visits, treat-and-release ED visits, and ED visits resulting in admission to the same hospital. Children had a lower rate of ED visits than adults in 2015. Fewer than 5 percent of pediatric ED visits resulted in admission to the same hospital. Children younger than 5 years of age accounted for more than 40 percent of pediatric ED visits in 2015. Overall, the proportion of pediatric ED visits was inversely related to community-level income, with children in the lowest income quartile constituting more than a third of pediatric ED visits. More than 60 percent of pediatric ED visits in 2015 were covered by Medicaid. The number of pediatric ED visits covered by Medicaid generally increased from 2007 to 2015, whereas the number of visits covered by other types of insurance generally decreased. Respiratory disorders, and injury and poisoning (combined) were the most common reasons for pediatric ED visits in 2015. Upper respiratory diseases and infections were the most common respiratory-related ED diagnoses across all pediatric age groups in 2015, with the highest rates among younger age groups.

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