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Med Care. 2019 Apr;57(4):279-285. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000001071.

Regional and Rural-Urban Differences in the Use of Direct-acting Antiviral Agents for Hepatitis C Virus: The Veteran Birth Cohort.

Author information

1
Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Yale University School of Medicine.
2
Department of Biostatistics, Yale University School of Public Health, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, New Haven.
3
Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT.
4
Veterans Rural Health Resource Iowa City VA Medical Center, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA.
5
Center for Biomedical Data Science, Yale University School of Medicine, VA Connecticut Healthcare System.
6
Section of Digestive Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven.
7
Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, New Haven.
8
Yale University School of Medicine, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Veterans with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection may face geographic obstacles to obtaining treatment.

OBJECTIVE:

We studied the influence of region and rural versus urban residence on receipt of direct-acting antiretroviral (DAA) medications for HCV.

SUBJECTS:

Veterans receiving care within Veterans Affairs Healthcare System born between 1945 and 1965.

RESEARCH DESIGN:

This is a observational study using national electronic health record data.

MEASURES:

Receipt of DAAs was defined as ≥1 filled prescription from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2016. Region (South, Northeast, Midwest, and West) and residence (urban, rural-micropolitan, small rural towns, and isolated rural towns) variables were created using residential zone improvement plan codes and rural-urban commuting area (RUCA) codes. Multivariable models were adjusted for age, race, sex, severity of liver disease, comorbidities, and prior treatment experience.

RESULTS:

Among 166,353 eligible patients 64,854 received, DAAs. Variation by rural-urban residence depended on region. In unadjusted analyses, receipt varied by rural-urban designations within Midwest, and West regions (P<0.05) but did not vary within the South (P=0.12). Southern rural small town had the lowest incidence of DAA receipt (40.1%), whereas the incidence was 52.9% in Midwestern isolated rural towns. In adjusted logistic analyses, compared with southern urban residents (the largest single group), southern rural small town residents had the lowest odds ratio, 0.85 (95% confidence interval, 0.75-0.93), and Midwestern residents from isolated and small rural towns had the highest odds (odds ratio, both 1.27) to receive treatment.

CONCLUSIONS:

Substantial geographic variation exists in receipt of curative HCV treatment. Efforts are needed to provide more equitable access to DAAs.

PMID:
30807449
PMCID:
PMC6436819
[Available on 2020-04-01]
DOI:
10.1097/MLR.0000000000001071
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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