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J Natl Med Assoc. May 2005; 97(5): 667–673.
PMCID: PMC2569351

Patient perceptions of access to care and referrals to specialists: a comparison of African-American and white older patients with knee and hip osteoarthritis.


BACKGROUND: There is a marked racial difference in the use of knee and hip replacement for osteoarthritis (OA). The reasons for this disparity remain unclear. We examined how African-American and white patients with symptomatic OA of the knee and/or hip compare with respect to their perceptions of care for knee and hip OA. METHODS: Survey of 596 male patients with OA of the knee and/or hip in primary care clinics at Cleveland VAMC. RESULTS: African-American (44%) and white (56%) study participants were comparable with respect to age and clinical factors. African Americans were more likely to have VA insurance only [OR=1.93 (1.13-3.28)]. African Americans were less likely to report difficulty getting medical care when needed [OR=0.54 (0.34-0.88)]. Differences in the two groups regarding satisfaction with and confidence in the primary physician were not significant. The proportions of participants who received specialty care referrals were similar. CONCLUSION: African-American patients reported having only VA insurance more often than white patients. Other aspects of perceived system and provider-based factors were similar between groups.

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