Disparities in deep brain stimulation surgery among insured elders with Parkinson disease
Allison W. Willis, MD, MSCI, Mario Schootman, PhD, Nathan Kung, MD, Xiao-Yu Wang, Joel S. Perlmutter, MD and Brad A. Racette, MD
University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis
Objective: To identify sociodemographic, clinical, and physician/practice factors associated with deep brain stimulation (DBS). DBS is a proven surgical therapy for Parkinson disease (PD), but is recommended only for patients with excellent health, results in significant out-of-pocket costs, and requires substantial physician involvement.
Methods: Retrospective cohort study of more than 657,000 Medicare beneficiaries with PD. Multivariable logistic regression models examined the association between demographic, clinical, socioeconomic status (SES), and physician/practice factors, and DBS therapy.
Results: There were significant disparities in the use of DBS therapy among Medicare beneficiaries with PD. The greatest disparities were associated with race: black (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.20, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.16–0.25) and Asian (AOR 0.55, 95% CI 0.44–0.70) beneficiaries were considerably less likely to receive DBS than white beneficiaries. Women (AOR 0.79, 95% CI 0.75–0.83) also had lower odds of receiving DBS compared with men. Eighteen percent of procedures were performed on patients with PD who had cognitive impairment/dementia, a reported contraindication to DBS. Beneficiaries treated in minority-serving PD practices were less likely to receive DBS, regardless of individual race (AOR 0.76, 95% CI 0.66–0.87). Even after adjustment for demographic and clinical covariates, high neighborhood SES was associated with 1.4-fold higher odds of receiving DBS (AOR 1.42, 95% CI 1.33–1.53).
Conclusions: Among elderly Medicare beneficiaries with PD, race, sex, and neighborhood SES are strong independent predictors of DBS receipt. Racial disparities are amplified when adjusting for physician/clinic characteristics. Future investigations of the demographic differences in clinical need/usefulness of DBS, ease of DBS attainment, and actual/opportunity DBS costs are needed to inform policies to reduce DBS disparities and improve PD quality of care.
For Full Article: Neurology (2014)