Racial Differences in the Evaluation and Treatment of Hepatitis C Among Veterans: A Retrospective Cohort Study
Rousseau, Christine M.
Ioannou, George N.
Todd-Stenberg, Jeffrey A.
Sloan, Kevin L.
Larson, Meaghan F.
Forsberg, Christopher W.
Dominitz, Jason A.
American Journal of Public Health 2008 May; 98(5): 846-852
OBJECTIVES: We examined the association between race and hepatitis C virus (HCV) evaluation and treatment of veterans in the Northwest Network of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). METHODS: In our retrospective cohort study, we used medical records to determine antiviral treatment of 4263 HCV-infected patients from 8 VA medical centers. Secondary outcomes included specialty referrals, laboratory evaluation, viral genotype testing, and liver biopsy. Multiple logistic regression was used to adjust for clinical (measured through laboratory results and International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, codes) and sociodemographic factors. RESULTS: Blacks were less than half as likely as Whites to receive antiviral treatment (odds ratio [OR]=0.38; 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.23, 0.63). Both had similar odds of referral and liver biopsy. However, Blacks were significantly less likely to have complete laboratory evaluation (OR=0.67; 95% CI=0.52, 0.88) and viral genotype testing (OR=0.68; 95% CI=0.51, 0.90). CONCLUSIONS: Race is associated with receipt of medical care for various medical conditions. Further investigation is warranted to help understand whether patient preference or provider bias may explain why HCV-infected Blacks were less likely to receive medical care than Whites.
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