Impact of Medicare coverage on disparities in access to simultaneous pancreas and kidney transplantation.
In the setting of disparities in access to simultaneous pancreas and kidney transplantation (SPKT), Medicare coverage for this procedure was initiated July 1999. The impact of this change has not yet been studied. A national cohort of 22 190 type 1 diabetic candidates aged 18-55 for kidney transplantation (KT) alone or SPKT was analyzed. Before Medicare coverage, 57% of Caucasian, 36% of African American and 38% of Hispanic type 1 diabetics were registered for SPKT versus KT alone. After Medicare coverage, these proportions increased to 68%, 45% and 43%, respectively. The overall increase in SPKT registration rate was 27% (95% CI 1.16-1.38). As expected, the increase was more substantial in patients with Medicare primary insurance than those with private insurance (Relative Rate 1.18, 95% CI 1.09-1.28). However, racial disparities were unaffected by this policy change (African American vs. Caucasian: 0.97, 95% CI 0.87-1.09; Hispanic vs. Caucasian: 0.94, 95% CI 0.78-1.05). Even after Medicare coverage, African Americans and Hispanics had almost 30% lower SPKT registration rates than their Caucasian counterparts (95% CI 0.66-0.79 and 0.59-0.80, respectively). Medicare coverage for SPKT succeeded in increasing access for patients with Medicare, but did not affect the substantial racial disparities in access to this procedure.
Melancon, JK; Kucirka, LM; Boulware, LE; Powe, NR; Locke, JE; Montgomery, RA; Segev, DL
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