Disabilities such as cerebral palsy (CP) and spina bifida (SB) typically manifest in young children. Adults with CP/SB have a higher risk for chronic diseases than the general population, requiring more preventive treatment. The goal of this research was to examine disparities between whites and blacks and between whites and Hispanics in the utilization of preventative care. Based on private claims data from 2007-2017, researchers were able to identify 11,635 adults who were diagnosed with CP/BS. There were 8,935 White people, 1,457 Black people, and 1,243 Hispanic people. They compared the health of White individuals to that of each minority group by matching them on demographic and clinical characteristics. Using generalized estimating equations, all models were adjusted for age, sex, comorbidities, income, education, and US Census regions. The outcomes we looked at included office visits, physical/occupational therapy,  wellness visits, bone density screenings, cholesterol screenings, and diabetes screenings. A small percentage of persons with CP/SB received the needed care. Hispanic adults were more likely to be screened for diabetes but less likely to go for regular checkups (odds ratio [OR] = 1.48, 95% CI, 1.13-1.93) than White adults. Lower likelihood of wellness visits (OR = 0.50, 95% CI, 0.24-1.00) and bone density screening (OR = 0.54, 95% CI, 0.31-0.95) among Black people compared to Whites. Low rates of preventative service utilization were found among adults with CP/SB. There were huge gaps in wellness visits between Whites and minorities. These inequalities may be reduced if efforts are made to improve minority groups’ access to healthcare, for example, by increasing the use of telehealth and educating clinicians.

Source: annfammed.org/content/20/5/430