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Epilepsy Res. 2013 Nov;107(1-2):172-80. doi: 10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2013.08.003. Epub 2013 Aug 16.

Disparities in access to specialized epilepsy care.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, United States.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the impact of individual and community characteristics on access to specialized epilepsy care.

METHODS:

This retrospective cross-sectional study analyzed data from the California State Inpatient Sample, the State Ambulatory Surgery Database, and the State Emergency Department Database, that were linked with the 2009 Area Resource File and the location of the National Association of Epilepsy Center's epilepsy centers. The receipt of video-EEG monitoring was measured and used to indicate access to specialized epilepsy care in subjects with persistent seizures, identified as those who had frequent seizure-related hospital admissions and/or ER visits. A hierarchical logistic regression model was employed to assess barriers to high quality care at both individual and contextual levels.

RESULTS:

Among 115,632 persons with persistent seizures, individuals who routinely received care in an area where epilepsy centers were located were more likely to have access to specialized epilepsy care (OR: 1.81, 95% CI: 1.20, 2.72). Interestingly, the availability of epilepsy centers did not influence access to specialized epilepsy care in people who had private insurance. In contrast, uninsured individuals and those with public insurance programs including Medicaid and Medicare had significant gaps in access to specialized epilepsy care. Other individual characteristics such as age, race/ethnicity, and the presence of comorbid conditions were also associated with disparities in access to specialized care in PWE.

CONCLUSION:

Both individual and community characteristics play substantial roles in access to high quality epilepsy care. Policy interventions that incorporate strategies to address disparities at both levels are necessary to improve access to specialized care for PWE.

KEYWORDS:

Epilepsy; Healthcare access; Healthcare disparities

PMID:
24008077
PMCID:
PMC3818489
DOI:
10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2013.08.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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