Purpose: Low back pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders in the developed world and remains a growing and potentially debilitating condition. Management of this condition for individuals with poor healthcare coverage poses an additional burden. The purpose of this study was to characterize management of low back pain in a cohort of African Americans (AA), a majority of who were determined to have poor or no healthcare coverage.
Methods: Data from the general and AA patient populations with low back pain were extracted from the University of Virginia Medical Center Clinical Data Repository (CDR), which contains 15 years of data on approximately one million patients seen at the University of Virginia Medical Center. Patient demographics, healthcare coverage status, comorbidities, low back pain diagnoses, and procedure codes were extracted from the CDR and analyzed for differences between both groups and among healthcare coverage types within the AA cohort with low back pain.
Results: The largest percentage of completely indigent patients, Medicaid recipients, and the uninsured was found within the AA cohort compared to the general cohort (P < .001). AAs with poor healthcare coverage received less healthcare services than AAs with private insurance in management of low back pain.
Conclusion: Differences in the management of low back pain by healthcare coverage type were observed within a cohort of AA with low back pain. Further investigation into the most appropriate low back pain management options for this and other vulnerable communities is warranted.
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