Title: Revisiting racial disparities in ED CT utilization during the Affordable Care Act era: 2009-2018 data from the NHAMCS
Country: United States
Age: Adult Only
Sex: All Sexes
Population: Multiple Groups
Care Setting: Emergency Department
Clinical Setting: General Diagnostic Imaging
Data Level: National
Data Type: Government Survey
Data Source: National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey
Conclusion: Disparities In Some Minority Groups
Health OutComes Reported: No
Free Text Conclusion: Disparities in CT utilization was seen in non-Hispanic Black patients, but not seen for Hispanic or Asian/other patients.
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To examine the trends in CT utilization in the emergency department (ED) for different racial and ethnic groups, factors that may affect utilization, and the effects of increased insurance coverage since passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) for the years 2009-2018 were used for the analysis. The NHAMCS is a cross-sectional survey which has random and systematical samples of more than 200,000 visits to over 250 hospital EDs in the USA. Patient demographic characteristics, source of payment/insurance, clinical presentation, and disposition from the ED were recorded. Descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression were performed. RESULTS: Between 2009 and 2018, the rate of uninsured patients in the ED decreased from 18.1% to as low as 9.9%, but this was not associated with a decrease in the disparity in CT utilization between non-Hispanic Black and non-Hispanic White patients. CT use rate increased 38% over the study period. Factors strongly associated with CT utilization include age, source of payment, triage category, disposition from the ED, and residence. After controlling for these factors, non-Hispanic White patients were 21% more likely to undergo CT than non-Hispanic Black patients, though no disparity was seen for Hispanic or Asian/other groups. CONCLUSION: Despite increased insurance coverage over the sample period, racial disparities between non-Hispanic Black and non-Hispanic White patients persist in CT utilization, though no disparity was seen for Hispanic or Asian/other patients. The source of this disparity remains unclear and is likely multifactorial.