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Machen L, Davenport CA, Oakes M, Bosworth HB, Patel UD, Diamantidis C. Race, Income, and Medical Care Spending Patterns in High-Risk Primary Care Patients: Results From the STOP-DKD (Simultaneous Risk Factor Control Using Telehealth to Slow Progression of Diabetic Kidney Disease) Study. Kidney medicine. 2022 Jan 1; 4(1):100382.
RATIONALE and OBJECTIVE: Little is known about how socioeconomic status (SES) relates to the prioritization of medical care spending over personal expenditures in individuals with multiple comorbid conditions, and whether this relationship differs between Blacks and non-Blacks. We aimed to explore the relationship between SES, race, and medical spending among individuals with multiple comorbid conditions. STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional evaluation of baseline data from a randomized controlled trial. SETTING and PARTICIPANTS: The STOP-DKD (Simultaneous Risk Factor Control Using Telehealth to Slow Progression of Diabetic Kidney Disease) study is a completed randomized controlled trial of Duke University primary care patients with diabetes, hypertension, and chronic kidney disease. Participants underwent survey assessments inclusive of measures of socio-demographics and medication adherence. PREDICTORS: Race (Black or non-Black) and socioeconomic status (income, education, and employment). OUTCOMES: The primary outcomes were based on 4 questions related to spending, asking about reduced spending on basic/leisure needs or using savings to pay for medical care. Participants were also asked if they skipped medications to make them last longer. ANALYTICAL APPROACH: Multivariable logistic regression stratified by race and adjusted for age, sex, and household chaos was used to determine the independent effects of SES components on spending. RESULTS: Of 263 STOP-DKD participants, 144 (55%) were Black. Compared with non-Blacks, Black participants had lower incomes with similar levels of education and employment but were more likely to reduce spending on basic needs (29.2% vs 13.5%), leisure activities (35.4% vs 20.2%), and to skip medications (31.3% vs 15.1%), all < 0.05. After multivariable adjustment, Black race was associated with increased odds of reduced basic spending (OR, 2.29; 95% CI, 1.14-4.60), reduced leisure spending (OR, 1.94; 95% CI, 1.05-3.58), and skipping medications (OR, 2.12; 95% CI, 1.12-4.04). LIMITATIONS: This study was conducted at a single site in Durham, North Carolina, and nearly exclusively included insured patients. Further, the impact of the number of comorbid conditions, medication costs, or copayments was not assessed. CONCLUSIONS: In primary care patients with multiple chronic diseases, Black patients are more likely to reduce spending on basic needs and leisure activities to afford their medical care than non-Black patients of equivalent SES. CLINICALTRIALSGOV IDENTIFIER: NCT01829256.