Original Research

Health Care Disparities Among Adolescents and Adults With Sickle Cell Disease: A Community-Based Needs Assessment to Inform Intervention Strategies



Quality of Care. More than half (51%) of the 53 participants who had accessed health care in the previous year rated their overall health care as poor on the ASCQ-Me QOC measure. This was significantly higher compared to the reports from more than 47,000 adults with Medicaid in 2017 (16%),41 and to the 2008-2009 report from 556 adults with SCD from across the United States (37%, Figure 2).33 The major contributor to these poor ratings for participants in our sample was low satisfaction with ED care.

ASCQ-Me Quality of Care: overall quality of care composite measure

Sixty percent of the 42 participants who had accessed ED care in the past year indicated “never” or “sometimes” to the question “When you went to the ED for care, how often did you get it as soon as you wanted?” compared with only 16% of the 2017 adult Medicaid population responding (n = 25,789) (Figure 3). Forty-seven percent of those with an ED visit indicated that, in the previous 12 months, they had been made to wait “more than 2 hours before receiving treatment for acute pain in the ED.” However, in the previous 12 months, 39% reported that their wait time in the ED had been only “between five minutes and one hour.”

ASCQ-Me Quality of Care: timely access to emergency department care

On the ASCQ-Me QOC Access to Care composite measure, 33% of 42 participants responding reported they were seen at a routine appointment as soon as they would have liked. This is significantly lower compared to 56% of the adult Medicaid population responding to the same question. Reports of provider communication (Provider Communication composite) for adolescents and adults with SCD were comparable to reports of adults with SCD from the ASCQ-Me field test,33 but adults with Medicaid reported higher ratings of quality communication behaviors (Figure 4).33,41 Nearly 60% of both groups with SCD reported that providers “always” performed quality communication behaviors—listened carefully, spent enough time, treated them with respect, and explained things well—compared with more than 70% of adults with Medicaid.

ASCQ-Me Quality of Care: provider communication composite measure

Participants from all counties reported the same number of barriers to care on average (3.3 ± 2.1). Adolescents and adults who reported more barriers to care also reported lower satisfaction with care (r = –0.47, P < 0.01) and less confidence in their ability to manage their SCD (self-efficacy, r = – 0.36, P < 0.05). Female participants reported more barriers to care on average compared with male participants (2.6 ± 2.4 vs 1.4 ± 2.0, P = 0.05). Participants with higher self-efficacy reported lower pain ratings (r = –0.47, P < 0.001).


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