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Alabdely MH, Kothadia S, Bej T, Wilson BM, Song S, Akpoji U, Kowal C, Perez F, Jump RLP. Neither Race nor Ethnicity Impact the Mortality of Residents of Veterans Affairs Community Living Center With COVID-19. Journal of The American Medical Directors Association. 2023 Jan 1; 24(1):22-26.e1.
OBJECTIVES: COVID-19 disproportionately affected nursing home residents and people from racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. Nursing homes in the Veterans Affairs (VA) system, termed Community Living Centers (CLCs), belong to a national managed care system. In the period prior to the availability of vaccines, we examined whether residents from racial and ethnic minorities experienced disparities in COVID-19 related mortality. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Residents at 134 VA CLCs from April 14 to December 10, 2020. METHODS: We used the VA Corporate Data Warehouse to identify VA CLC residents with a positive SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction test during or 2 days prior to their admission and without a prior case of COVID-19. We assessed age, self-reported race/ethnicity, frailty, chronic medical conditions, Charlson comorbidity index, the annual quarter of the infection, and all-cause 30-day mortality. We estimated odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals of all-cause 30-day mortality using a mixed-effects multivariable logistic regression model. RESULTS: During the study period, 1133 CLC residents had an index positive SARS-CoV-2 test. Mortality at 30 days was 23% for White non-Hispanic residents, 15% for Black non-Hispanic residents, 10% for Hispanic residents, and 16% for other residents. Factors associated with increased 30-day mortality were age 70 years, Charlson comorbidity index 6, and a positive SARS-CoV-2 test between April 14 and June 30, 2020. Frailty, Black race, and Hispanic ethnicity were not independently associated with an increased risk of 30-day mortality. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Among a national cohort of VA CLC residents with COVID-19, neither Black race nor Hispanic ethnicity had a negative impact on survival. Further research is needed to determine factors within the VA health care system that mitigate the influence of systemic racism on COVID-19 outcomes in US nursing homes.