Indigent care and infant mortality in Texas

Scott Grant, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Infant Mortality has been made a point of emphasis by the Department of Health and Human Services in the Healthy People 2000, 2010, and 2020 priorities. This study used the Behavioral Model for Vulnerable Populations to consider a number of factors which impact infant mortality in the indigent populations in the State of Texas. The primary focus of this study was the enabling factor of community resources, specifically the program used by each county to provide care to their indigent population. The Legislature of the State of Texas requires that each state have a program set up within a Hospital District, Public Hospital or develop a County Indigent Health Care Program (CIHCP) in order to provide the basic health care needs of their most vulnerable residents. We sought to determine whether the development of a CICHP without an appointed hospital to provide the care would have an adverse effect on residents seeking care and increase infant mortality. A Poisson Regression Analysis was used to analyze incidence rate ratios adjusting for race/ethnicity and wealth/poverty variables. Our study showed that counties using a CIHCP had significantly lower infant mortality rates when compared to counties using a hospital district and were statistically equivalent to counties using a public hospital program or a combination of service programs. This relationship was maintained when adjusted incidence rate ratios were calculated. This may give evidence that counties struggling to fund a public hospital or hospital district may be able to find a more cost-effective alternative in the CIHCP without adversely affecting the health status of their residents. More cost-benefit analysis and controlling analysis must be done to further characterize this relationship.

Subject Area

Health care management

Recommended Citation

Grant, Scott, "Indigent care and infant mortality in Texas" (2013). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1544266.