Surgery for Otitis Media in a Universal Health Care Model: Socioeconomic Status and Race/Ethnicity Effects

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Objectives(1) To determine the association between socioeconomic status (SES), race/ethnicity, and other demographic risk factors in surgically managed otitis media within a model of universal health care. 2) To determine quality of life (QOL) outcomes of surgically managed otitis media in this model.SettingTertiary academic medical center.Study DesignProspective cohort study.MethodsA prospective study was conducted between June 2011 and December 2012 with dependent children of military families. TRICARE provides equal access to care among all beneficiaries regardless of a wide range of annual incomes. Caretakers of children scheduled for bilateral myringotomy and tympanostomy tube (BMT) placement were administered a demographic survey, as well as OM-6 QOL instrument preoperatively and 6 weeks postoperatively. A control group who did not undergo BMT was also administered both the survey and OM-6 for comparison.ResultsTwo hundred forty patients were enrolled (120 surgical patients and 120 controls). Logistic regression demonstrated age younger than 6 years old (P < .001), day care attendance (P < .001), and non-Hispanic Caucasian race (P = .022) to be associated with surgery. Surgical QOL outcomes demonstrated a significant improvement in otitis media-6 (OM-6) scores after surgical management from 3.00 (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.79-3.20) to 1.35 (95% CI, 1.22-1.47).ConclusionIn a universal health care model serving more than 2 million children, previously reported proxies of low SES as well as minority race/ethnicity were not associated with surgically managed otitis media contrary to reported literature. Caucasian race, young age, and day care attendance were associated with surgery. Surgery improved QOL outcomes 6 weeks postoperatively.

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