Examining Healthcare Segregation Among Racial and Ethnic Minorities Receiving Spine Surgical Procedures in the State of Florida

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Abstract

Study Design.

This was a retrospective review of the Florida Inpatient Dataset (2011–2014).

Objective.

To examine healthcare segregation among African American and Hispanic patients treated with one of four common spine surgical procedures.

Summary of Background Data.

Racial and ethnic minorities are known to be at increased risk of adverse events after spine surgery. Healthcare segregation has been proposed as a source for these disparities, but has not been systematically examined for patients undergoing spine surgery.

Methods.

African American, Hispanic, and White patients who underwent one of the four lumbar spine surgical procedures under study were included. Volume cut-offs were previously established for surgical providers and hospitals. Surgeons and hospitals were dichotomized based on these metrics as low- or high-volume providers. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to determine the likelihood of patients receiving surgery from a low volume provider, adjusting for sociodemographic and clinical characteristics.

Results.

African Americans were found to be at significantly increased odds of receiving surgery from a low-volume surgeon (P < 0.001) and were significantly more likely to receive surgery at a low-volume hospital (P < 0.007) for all procedures except decompression (P = 0.56). Like findings were encountered for Hispanic patients. Hispanic patients were 55% to three-times more likely to receive surgery from a low-volume surgeon depending on the procedure and 28% to 56% more likely to be treated at a low-volume hospital. African Americans were 34% to 82% more likely to receive surgery from a low-volume surgeon depending on the procedure and 10% to 17% more likely to be treated at a low-volume hospital.

Conclusion.

The results of this work identify the phenomenon of racial and ethnic healthcare segregation among low-volume providers for lumbar spine procedures in the State of Florida. This may be a contributing factor to the increased risk of adverse events after spine surgery known to exist among minorities.

Conclusion.

Level of Evidence: 3

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