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Investigation of the role of perceived access to primary care in mediating and moderating racial and ethnic disparities in chronic disease control in the veterans health administration.
Shannon EM, Steers WN, Washington DL. Investigation of the role of perceived access to primary care in mediating and moderating racial and ethnic disparities in chronic disease control in the veterans health administration. Health services research. 2023 Nov 16.
To examine the role of patient-perceived access to primary care in mediating and moderating racial and ethnic disparities in hypertension control and diabetes control among Veterans Health Administration (VA) users.
DATA SOURCE AND STUDY SETTING:
We performed a secondary analysis of national VA user administrative data for fiscal years 2016-2019.
Our primary exposure was race or ethnicity and primary outcomes were binary indicators of hypertension control ( < 140/90 mmHg) and diabetes control (HgbA1c < 9%) among patients with known disease. We used the inverse odds-weighting method to test for mediation and logistic regression with race and ethnicity-by-perceived access interaction product terms to test moderation. All models were adjusted for age, sex, socioeconomic status, rurality, education, self-rated physical and mental health, and comorbidities.
DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS:
We included VA users with hypertension and diabetes control data from the External Peer Review Program who had contemporaneously completed the Survey of Healthcare Experience of Patients-Patient-Centered Medical Home. Hypertension (34,233 patients) and diabetes (23,039 patients) samples were analyzed separately.
After adjustment, Black patients had significantly lower rates of hypertension control than White patients (75.5% vs. 78.8%, p < 0.01); both Black (81.8%) and Hispanic (80.4%) patients had significantly lower rates of diabetes control than White patients (85.9%, p < 0.01 for both differences). Perceived access was lower among Black, Multi-Race and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders compared to White patients in both samples. There was no evidence that perceived access mediated or moderated associations between Black race, Hispanic ethnicity, and hypertension or diabetes control.
We observed disparities in hypertension and diabetes control among minoritized patients. There was no evidence that patients' perception of access to primary care mediated or moderated these disparities. Reducing racial and ethnic disparities within VA in hypertension and diabetes control may require interventions beyond those focused on improving patient access.