The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 34, Issue 12, 2866 - 2871

Do Geographic Region, Medicaid Status, and Academic Affiliation Affect Access to Care Among Medicaid and Privately Insured Total Hip Arthroplasty Patients?

Almaguer, Adam M. et al.
Hip

Background

Medicaid provides health coverage to those beneath the federal poverty line. The literature shows that patients with Medicaid experience barriers to scheduling initial and follow-up visits, although this has not been studied in patients undergoing total hip arthroplasty (THA). The purpose of this study is to assess whether insurance type, geographic location, Medicaid expansion, or academic affiliation affect access to evaluation for THA.

Methods

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons directory was used to call a total of 100 practices. Five random private and 5 random academic medical facilities were called from each of 5 Medicaid-expanded and 5 non-expanded states representing different US geographic regions. Calls were made by an investigator requesting the earliest available appointment for their fictitious parent to be evaluated for a THA. Half of the calls were made with the investigator reporting private insurance of Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), and half reporting Medicaid. Appointment success rate and average time to appointment were compared. Further comparisons were drawn among Medicaid-expanded vs non-expanded states, geographic regions, and private vs academic affiliation.

Results

Appointments were successful for 99 of 100 (99%) calls made with BCBS, and 72 of 100 (72%) with Medicaid ( P < .001). Success rates were significantly higher for BCBS, regardless of academic vs private affiliation. In all geographic regions, appointment success rate was significantly lower with Medicaid than with BCBS ( P ≤ .01). Average time to appointment was also significantly longer for Medicaid (26 days) than private (13 days) insurance ( P = .020). In the Medicaid group, appointment success rate was significantly greater for academically affiliated practices compared to private practices (84.0% vs 60.0%, respectively; P = .008).

Conclusion

Patients with Medicaid seeking consultation for THA experience limits in access to evaluation for THA when compared to patients with private insurance, regardless of geographic region or affiliation of the practice.

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