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Study finds variations in abuse diagnoses for infants with public health insurance

Posted On Wed, August 18, 2010

Not all children may be equally assessed for cases of abuse and neglect, a study reveals.

Published in the journal Pediatrics, research from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia found that infants with traumatic brain injuries were less likely to be tested for abuse or neglect if they had government health insurance or were African-American.

While African-American children and those with public health insurance plans were more likely to receive skeletal surveys and other exams, white children were more likely to receive an abuse diagnoses if they received a skeletal survey.

Children's Hospital pediatric researcher and study senior author Dr. David Rubin says that the study results indicate that not all children are being equally evaluated for abuse and neglect.

"These results raise concerns that different thresholds for suspicion of child abuse were being used for children of different races and economic levels," said Rubin. "Recognizing that racial disparities exists is the first step toward health care providers correcting those discrepancies."

Conducting a skeletal survey may be one of the best ways to diagnose abuse in infants. The National Criminal Justice Reference Service says that radiological abnormalities can be enough to diagnose abuse in infants when other medical information is not available.ADNFCR-2297-ID-19926921-ADNFCR

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