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J Health Care Poor Underserved 15:562-575.
General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
We evaluated racial and ethnic differences in use of medical care between patients with diabetes enrolled in Medicaid and explored whether differences varied by state Medicaid program. Using data from 137,006 patients we created a multivariable Poisson regression model to examine the effect of race on ambulatory care visits, emergency ward visits, and hospitalization rates for patients with diabetes mellitus enrolled in three state Medicaid programs. We found significant differences in service use between groups, which varied depending on state. For example, black patients compared with whites had significantly fewer outpatient visits but more hospitalizations in New Jersey; by contrast, blacks had higher outpatient visit rates and lower hospitalization rates in Georgia. Racial and ethnic differences in health service use among Medicaid enrollees were not consistent across states, suggesting that local factors, including varied Medicaid policies, may affect racial and ethnic differences in use of health care services.
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