Inpatient HS Care Higher for Black and Hispanic Patients

Inpatient care utilization for hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) was higher for Black and Hispanic patients, compared with White patients, in an analysis of the 2012-2017 National Inpatient Sample.

The differences occurred despite Black and Hispanic patients being younger at the time of admission than White patients, and may reflect increased disease severity and management challenges in these patients with skin of color, Nishadh Sutaria, BS, a medical student at Tufts University, Boston, said at the annual Skin of Color Society symposium. “They may also reflect social inequities in access to dermatologists, with racial and ethnic minorities using inpatient services in lieu of outpatient care.”

Sutaria and coinvestigators, led by Shawn Kwatra, MD, of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, identified 8,040 HS admissions for White patients, 16,490 Black patients, and 2,405 for Hispanic patients during the 5-year period.

Black and Hispanic patients were significantly younger than White patients, with a mean age of 38.1 years and 35 years, respectively, compared with 42 years for White patients (P < .001 in each case). Compared with White patients, Black patients had more procedures (2.03 vs. 1.84, P = .006), a longer length of stay (5.82 days vs. 4.97 days, P = .001), and higher cost of care ($46,119 vs. $39,862, P = .010). Compared with White patients, Hispanic patients had higher cost of care ($52,334 vs. $39,862, P = .004).

“In these models, Black patients stayed almost a full day longer and accrued a charge of $8,000 more than White patients, and Hispanic patients stayed about a half-day longer and accrued a charge of almost $15,000 more than White patients,” Sutaria said.

In a multilinear regression analysis adjusting for age, sex, and insurance type, Black race correlated with more procedures, higher length of stay, and higher cost of care, and Hispanic ethnicity with more procedures and higher cost of care.

Prior research has shown that Black patients may be disproportionately affected by HS. A 2017 analysis of electronic health record data for tens of millions of patients nationally, for instance, showed an incidence of HS that was over 2.5 times greater in Blacks than Whites. And a recent analysis of electronic data in Wisconsin for patients with an HS diagnosis and 3 or more encounters for the disease showed that Blacks are more likely to have HS that is Hurley Stage 3, the most severe type.

Increased severity “has not been explicitly shown in Hispanic patients,” Kwatra said in an interview, “[but] there is a strong relationship between obesity/metabolic syndrome with HS. Because Hispanic patients have higher rates of obesity and metabolic syndrome, it’s [thought] that they may have more severe HS.”

HS patients with skin of color are underrepresented in clinical trials, he said. “Severe HS can be difficult to treat because there are few effective treatments,” he said, noting that adalimumab is the only Food and Drug Administration–approved therapy.

The National Inpatient Sample is a publicly available, all-payer inpatient care database developed for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project.

Sutaria is a dermatology research fellow working under the guidance of Kwatra.

This article originally appeared on, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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