Health Policy

Disparities in access to health care in three French regions

Disparities in access to health care in three French regions
Health Policy, DOI 10.1016/j.healthpol.

Michael K. Gusmano, Daniel Weisz, Victor G. Rodwin, Jonas Lang, Meng Quian, Aurelie Bocquier, Veronique Moysan, Pierre Verger
08/05/2013

Objectives: This paper compares access to primary and specialty care in three metropolitan regions of France: Ile de France (IDF), Nord-Pas-de-Calais (NPC) and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA); and identifies the factors that contribute to disparities in access to care within and among these regions.

Methods: To assess access to primary care, we compare variation among residence-based, age-adjusted hospital discharge rates for ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ASC). To assess access on one dimension of specialty care, we compare residence-based, age- adjusted hospital discharge rates for revascularization – bypass surgery and angioplasty – among patients diagnosed with ischemic heart disease (IHD). In addition, for each region we rely on a multilevel generalized linear mixed effect model to identify a range of individual and area-level factors that affect the discharge rates for ASC and revascularization. Results: In comparison with other large metropolitan regions, in France, access to primary care is greater in Paris and its surrounding region (IDF) than in NPC but worse than in PACA. With regard to revascularization, after controlling for the burden of IHD, use of services is highest in PACA followed by IDF and NPC. In all three regions, disparities in access are much greater for revascularization than for ASC. Residents of low-income areas and those who are treated in public hospitals have poorer access to primary care and revascularizations. In addition, the odds of hospitalization for ASC and revascularization are higher for men. Finally, people who are treated in public hospitals, have poorer access to primary care and revascularization services than those who are admitted for ASC and revascularization services in private hospitals.

Conclusions: Within each region, we find significant income disparities among geographic areas in access to primary care as well as revascularization. Even within a national health insurance system that minimizes the financial barriers to health care and has one of the highest rates of spending on health care in Europe, the challenge of minimizing these disparities remains.

Partisan Priorities: How Issue Ownership Drives and Distorts American Politics

Partisan Priorities: How Issue Ownership Drives and Distorts American Politics
Cambridge University Press.

Egan, Patrick J.
07/22/2013

Americans consistently name Republicans as the party better at handling issues like national security and crime, while they trust Democrats on issues like education and the environment – a phenomenon called “issue ownership.” Partisan Priorities investigates the origins of issue ownership, showing that in fact the parties deliver neither superior performance nor popular policies on the issues they “own.” Rather, Patrick J. Egan finds that Republicans and Democrats simply prioritize their owned issues with lawmaking and government spending when they are in power. Since the parties tend to be particularly ideologically rigid on the issues they own, politicians actually tend to ignore citizens' preferences when crafting policy on these issues. Thus, issue ownership distorts the relationship between citizens' preferences and public policies.

Prostate Cancer Imaging Trends After a Nationwide Effort to Discourage Inappropriate Prostate Cancer Imaging

Prostate Cancer Imaging Trends After a Nationwide Effort to Discourage Inappropriate Prostate Cancer Imaging
Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 105, no. 17, pp. 1306-1313. DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djt175

Makarov, D.V., S. Loeb, D. Ulmert, L. Drevin, M. Lambe, and P. Stattin
07/13/2013

Background: Reducing inappropriate use of imaging to stage incident prostate cancer is a challenging problem highlighted recently as a Physician Quality Reporting System quality measure and by the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Urological Association in the Choosing Wisely campaign. Since 2000, the National Prostate Cancer Register (NPCR) of Sweden has led an effort to decrease national rates of inappropriate prostate cancer imaging by disseminating utilization data along with the latest imaging guidelines to urologists in Sweden. We sought to determine the temporal and regional effects of this effort on prostate cancer imaging rates.

Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study among men diagnosed with prostate cancer from the NPCR from 1998 to 2009 (n = 99 879). We analyzed imaging use over time stratified by clinical risk category (low, intermediate, high) and geographic region. Generalized linear models with a logit link were used to test for time trend.

Results: Thirty-six percent of men underwent imaging within 6 months of prostate cancer diagnosis. Overall, imaging use decreased over time, particularly in the low-risk category, among whom the imaging rate decreased from 45% to 3% (P < .001), but also in the high-risk category, among whom the rate decreased from 63% to 47% (P < .001). Despite substantial regional variation, all regions experienced clinically and statistically (P < .001) significant decreases in prostate cancer imaging.

Conclusions: A Swedish effort to provide data on prostate cancer imaging use and imaging guidelines to clinicians was associated with a reduction in inappropriate imaging over a 10-year period, as well as slightly decreased appropriate imaging in high-risk patients. These results may inform current efforts to promote guideline-concordant imaging in the United States and internationally.

A comparison of the Family Health Strategy to other sources of healthcare: utilization and quality of health services in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais State, Brazil

A comparison of the Family Health Strategy to other sources of healthcare: utilization and quality of health services in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais State, Brazil
Cadernos de Saude Publica, Vol. 29, no. 7. 10.1590/S0102-311X2013000700011

Lima-Costa, M.F., M.A. Turci, and J. Macinko
07/01/2013

Indicators of healthcare utilization and quality were compared in a probabilistic sample of adults (N = 7,534) covered by private health plans, the Family Health Strategy (FHS), and "traditional" primary care clinics (UBS) in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais State, Brazil. After adjusting for demographics, health conditions, and socioeconomic status, indicators of healthcare utilization (longitudinality, health-seeking, and medical consultations) showed better performance among users of the FHS and private health plans compared to those covered by the UBS. Hospitalizations, preventive tests, and flu vaccinations varied little between sources of care. Quality indicators (difficulty in making an appointment, waiting lines, complaints about obtaining medications, and receiving an appointment within 24 hours) were better among private health plans. Recommending one's healthcare providers to others was more frequent among FHS users (61.9%) and those with private health plans (55.6%), compared to those served by UBS (45.4%).

A review of pharmacological interactions between HIV or hepatitis C virus medications and opioid agonist therapy: implications and management for clinical practice

A review of pharmacological interactions between HIV or hepatitis C virus medications and opioid agonist therapy: implications and management for clinical practice
Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology, Vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 249-269. DOI: 10.1586/ecp.13.18

Bruce, R.D., D.E. Moody, F.L. Altice, M.N. Gourevitch, and G.H. Friedland
05/01/2013

Global access to opioid agonist therapy and HIV/hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment is expanding but when used concurrently, problematic pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic interactions may occur. Articles published from 1966 to 2012 in Medline were reviewed using the following keywords: HIV, AIDS, HIV therapy, HCV, HCV therapy, antiretroviral therapy, highly active antiretroviral therapy, drug interactions, methadone and buprenorphine. In addition, a review of abstracts from national and international meetings and conference proceedings was conducted; selected reports were reviewed as well. The metabolism of both opioid and antiretroviral therapies, description of their known interactions and clinical implications and management of these interactions were reviewed. Important pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic drug interactions affecting either methadone or HIV medications have been demonstrated within each class of antiretroviral agents. Drug interactions between methadone, buprenorphine and HIV medications are known and may have important clinical consequences. Clinicians must be alert to these interactions and have a basic knowledge regarding their management.

Overweight, obesity, and inactivity and urban design in rapidly growing Chinese cities

Overweight, obesity, and inactivity and urban design in rapidly growing Chinese cities
Health & Place, 21, 29-38. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2012.12.009

Day, K, M Alfonzo, Y F Chen, Z Guo, and K K Lee
05/01/2013

China faces rising rates of overweight, obesity, and physical inactivity among its citizens. Risk is highest in China’s rapidly growing cities and urban populations. Current urban development practices and policies in China heighten this risk. These include policies that support decentralization in land use planning; practices of neighborhood gating; and policies and practices tied to motor vehicle travel, transit planning, and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. In this paper, we review cultural, political, and economic issues that influence overweight, obesity, and inactivity in China. We examine key urban planning features and policies that shape urban environments that may compromise physical activity as part of everyday life, including walking and bicycling. We review the empirical research to identify planning and design strategies that support physical activity in other high-density cities in developing and developed countries. Finally, we identify successful strategies to increase physical activity in another growing, high-density city – New York City – to suggest strategies that may have relevance for rapidly urbanizing Chinese cities.

Race/Ethnicity-Specific Associations of Urinary Phthalates with Childhood Body Mass in a Nationally Representative Sample

Race/Ethnicity-Specific Associations of Urinary Phthalates with Childhood Body Mass in a Nationally Representative Sample
Environmental Health Perspectives. 121:501-506.

Trasande, Leonardo, Teresa M Attina, S Sathyanarayana, Adam J Spanier, Jan Blustein.
04/01/2013

Background: Phthalates have antiandrogenic effects and may disrupt lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. Racial/ethnic subpopulations have been documented to have varying urinary phthalate concentrations and prevalences of childhood obesity.

Objective: We examined associations between urinary phthalate metabolites and body mass outcomes in a nationally representative sample of U.S. children and adolescents.

Methods: We performed stratified and whole-sample cross-sectional analyses of 2,884 children 6–19 years of age who participated in the 2003–2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Multivariable linear and logistic analyses of body mass index z-score, overweight, and obesity were performed against molar concentrations of low-molecular-weight (LMW), high-molecular-weight (HMW), and di-2-ethylhexylphthalate (DEHP) metabolites, controlling for sex, television watching, caregiver education, caloric intake, poverty–income ratio, race/ethnicity, serum cotinine, and age group. We used sensitivity analysis to examine robustness of results to removing sample weighting, normalizing phthalate concentrations for molecular weight, and examining different dietary intake covariates.

Results: In stratified, multivariable models, each log unit (roughly 3-fold) increase in LMW metabolites was associated with 21% and 22% increases in odds (95% CI: 1.05–1.39 and 1.07–1.39, respectively) of overweight and obesity, and a 0.090-SD unit increase in BMI z-score (95% CI: 0.003–0.18), among non-Hispanic blacks. Significant associations were not identified in any other racial/ethnic subgroup or in the study sample as a whole after controlling for potential confounders, associations were not significant for HMW or DEHP metabolites, and results did not change substantially with sensitivity analysis.

Conclusions: We identified a race/ethnicity–specific association of phthalates with childhood obesity in a nationally representative sample. Further study is needed to corroborate the association and evaluate genetic/epigenomic predisposition and/or increased phthalate exposure as possible explanations for differences among racial/ethnic subgroups.

Surgical Decompression is Associated with Decreased Mortality in Patients with Sepsis and Ureteral Calculi

Surgical Decompression is Associated with Decreased Mortality in Patients with Sepsis and Ureteral Calculi
Journal of Urology, Vol. 189, no. 3, pp. 946-951. DOI: 10.1016/j.juro.2012.09.088

Borofsky, M.S., D. Walter,O. Shah, D.S. Goldfarb, A.C. Mues, and D.V. Makarov
03/01/2013

Purpose: The combination of sepsis and ureteral calculus is a urological emergency. Traditional teaching advocates urgent decompression with nephrostomy tube or ureteral stent placement, although published outcomes validating this treatment are lacking. National practice patterns for such scenarios are currently undefined. Using a retrospective study design, we defined the surgical decompression rate in patients admitted to the hospital with severe infection and ureteral calculi. We determined whether a mortality benefit is associated with this intervention.

Materials and Methods: Patient demographics and hospital characteristics were extracted from the 2007 to 2009 Nationwide Inpatient Sample. We identified 1,712 patients with ureteral calculi and sepsis. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to determine the association between mortality and surgical decompression.

Results: Of the patients 78% underwent surgical decompression. Mortality was higher in those not treated with surgical decompression (19.2% vs 8.82%, p <0.001). Lack of surgical decompression was independently associated with an increased OR of mortality even when adjusting for patient demographics, comorbidities and geographic region of treatment (OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.9–3.7).

Conclusions: Absent surgical decompression is associated with higher odds of mortality in patients with sepsis and ureteral calculi. Further research to determine predictors of surgical decompression is necessary to ensure that all patients have access to this life saving therapy.

Environmental and individual factors affecting menu labeling utilization: a qualitative research study

Environmental and individual factors affecting menu labeling utilization: a qualitative research study
Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2013 May;113(5):667-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2012.11.011. Epub 2013 Feb 9.

Jennifer Schindler, Kamila Kiszko, Courtney Abrams, Nadia Islam, Brian Elbel
02/09/2013

Obesity is a prominent public health concern that disproportionally affects low-income and minority populations. Recent policies mandating the posting of calories on menus in fast-food chain restaurants have not proven to uniformly influence food choice. This qualitative research study used focus groups to study individual and environmental factors affecting the use of these menu labels among low-income minority populations. Ten focus groups targeting low-income residents (n=105) were held at various community organizations throughout New York City over a 9-month period in 2011. The focus groups were conducted in Spanish, English, or a combination of both languages. In late 2011 and early 2012, transcripts were coded through the process of thematic analysis using Atlas.ti for naturally emerging themes, influences, and determinants of food choice. Few participants used menu labels, despite awareness. The most frequently cited as barriers to menu label use included: price and time constraints, confusion and lack of understanding about caloric values, as well as the priority of preference, hunger, and habitual ordering habits. Based on the individual and external influences on food choice that often take priority over calorie consideration, a modified approach may be necessary to make menu labels more effective and user-friendly.

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