Black, Hispanic patients 20% less likely to get outpatient orthopedic care: 3 study takeaways

Black and Hispanic patients are about 20 percent less likely than white patients to receive outpatient care, according to a new study published in Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research.

Researchers at Cleveland-based Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine studied data on more than 62,500 patients who received care for one of eight nonemergent musculoskeletal conditions at an office or emergency department between 2007 and 2015.

Three takeaways:

1. Americans with household incomes below the federal poverty line were less likely to receive outpatient orthopedic care, as well as those without private insurance or at least a high school education.

2. Patients with lower income, lower education and public insurance were more likely to receive care at emergency departments.

3. Hispanic patients were more likely to receive care in the emergency department, where costs were significantly higher than in office-based settings.

"Orthopedic surgeons should focus on improving communication with patients of all backgrounds to help them identify musculoskeletal symptoms that warrant office-based orthopedic care versus ED care," the study authors concluded.

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