Texas “prevention quality indicators” show access to care is an issue variable by illness

The Texas Department of State Health Services “prevention quality indicators”  data tables show trends that signal a lack of access to critical care that is variable by condition. 

The data is broken up into different indicators that rank the quality of health care by county. These indicators include hospitalizations as a result of low birth weight, pediatric asthma, and diabetes. The quality of care is determined by the number of hospitals available, and the number of overall hospitalizations for that illness. The report looks at 2016 Texas Hospital Inpatient Discharge Data to compile the data. 

When looking at low birth rates by county combined with the availability of hospitals in those counties, it is apparent that a lack of hospital does not necessarily correlate with low birth weight rates. Some of the highest rates occur in counties where hospitals are accessible. Parmer and Upton counties are two such examples. 

According to the data, however, the number of counties without access to a hospital correlates with median level low birth weight rates. Presidio, Zapata, and Marion counties are three such examples of this correlation. 

Data on hospital admission as a result of pediatric asthma shows noteworthy trends as well. Only three counties without a hospital showed high rates of pediatric asthma admissions: Callahan, Robertson and Marion counties. Counties with the highest rates had access to a hospital near by. 


When examining data on pediatric diabetes complications, on the other hand, opposite trends are apparent. The highest rates of child diabetes complications occur in a single county where residents do not have access to a hospital. Blanco county has the highest rate, followed closely by Terry county which does have access to a hospital. 

Data on the uncontrolled diabetes hospital admission rates tell a different story. The incidence of admission in the state overall is much higher than that among pediatric populations. Noteworthy is the fact that the counties with the highest rates, Sutton, Hamilton and Lynn, all have access to a hospital. Nearly 75 percent of median level incidents occur in counties that also have access to a hospital. 

Based on the data, it appears as though access becomes an issue for certain illnesses, but does not necessarily correlate to a complete lack of care. The data compiled here can be utilized in future legislative sessions to address the high rates of maternal and child morbidity rates, and to improve child health overall.