Hispanics and blacks (40% and 30%, respectively) were less likely to see an outpatient neurologist relative to their white counterparts, even after adjustment for demographic, insurance, and health status differences, a recent study found. Researchers analyzed nationally representative data from the 2006–2013 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), including information on demographics, patient-reported health conditions, neurology visit rates, and costs. They identified persons with any self-identified neurologic disorder except back pain, as well as 5 subgroups (Parkinson disease, multiple sclerosis, headache, cerebrovascular disease, and epilepsy). They also found:
- Of the 279,103 MEPS respondents, 16,936 (6%) self-reported a neurologic condition; 5,890 (2%) received a total of 13,685 outpatient neurology visits.
- Among participants with known neurologic conditions, blacks were more likely to be cared for in the emergency department, to have more hospital stays, and to have higher per capita inpatient expenditures than their white counterparts.
Saadi A, Himmelstein DU, Woolhandler S, Mejia NI. Racial disparities in neurologic health care access and utilization in the United States. [Published online ahead of print May 17, 2017]. Neurology. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000004025.