TUESDAY, June 6, 2023 (HealthDay News) — For children aged 0 to 17 years, the overall rate of emergency department visits decreased from 2019 to 2020, with decreases seen for both sexes and across races/ethnicities, according to a June data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics.
Christopher Cairns, M.P.H., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, and colleagues compared emergency department visits for children aged 0 to 17 years from 2019 to 2020 using data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.
The researchers found that from 2019 to 2020, the overall emergency department visit rate decreased from 48 to 31 visits per 100 children aged 0 to 17 years. For both sexes, the emergency department visit rates were lower in 2020 than in 2019. For Black or African American non-Hispanic, White non-Hispanic, and children of other non-Hispanic races and ethnicities, the emergency department visit rates were lower in 2020 than 2019. Compared with 2019, in 2020, the percentage of visits at which children waited less than 30 minutes until being seen was higher (81 versus 68 percent), while the percentage of visits at which children waited 60 minutes or more was lower (7 versus 16 percent).
“Findings from this report align with other studies that noted decreases in emergency department visits among children in 2020,” the authors write. “This report highlights changes in emergency department visits made by children aged 0 to 17, before and during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, a period with limited access to and use of care.”
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