The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Trauma Outcomes in At-Risk Groups: An Interrupted Time Series Analysis with Control Group

Erica L.W. Lester*, Justin E. Dvorak, Patrick J. Maluso, Leah C. Tatebe, Sandy Widder, Faran Bokhari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Analyze the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on trauma outcomes at a population level and within at-risk subgroups. Background: Trauma disproportionately affects the uninsured. Compared to the insured, uninsured patients have worse functional outcomes and increased mortality. The goal of the ACA was to increase access to insurance. Methods: An interrupted time series was conducted using data from the National Inpatient Sample database between 2011 and 2016. Data from Alberta, Canada was used as a control group. Mortality, length of stay, and probability of discharge home with or without home health care was examined using monthly time intervals, with January 2014 as the intervention time. Single and multiple group interrupted time series were conducted. Subgroup analyses were conducted using income quartiles and race. Results: After the intervention, there was a monthly reduction in mortality of 0.0148% (P < 0.01) in the American cohort: there was no change in the Canadian cohort. The White subgroup experienced a mortality reduction: the non-White subgroup did not. There was no significant change in length of stay or discharge home rate at a population level. There was a monthly increase in the probability of discharge with home health (0.0247%: P < 0.01); this was present in the lower-income quartiles and both race groups. The White subgroup had a higher rate of utilization of home health pre-ACA, and this discrepancy persisted post-ACA. Conclusions: The ACA is associated with improved mortality and increased use of home health services. Discrepancies amongst racial groups and income quartiles are present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E591-E597
JournalAnnals of surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022


  • affordable care act
  • health economics
  • health policy
  • insurability
  • interrupted times series
  • quasi-experimental methods
  • social determinants of health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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