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Disparities in Time to Surgeon Evaluation Among Patients with Primary Hyperparathyroidism

Published:October 02, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.surg.2022.06.041

      Abstract

      Background

      A majority of patients with primary hyperparathyroidism are not referred for surgical evaluation. We hypothesized that disparities in the rate of surgeon evaluation by language, race and ethnicity, and insurance contribute to this deficit.

      Methods

      We queried our institutional electronic health record registry for patients with first-incident hypercalcemia between 2010 and 2018 and subsequent biochemical diagnosis of primary hyperparathyroidism. We used the Kaplan-Meier method and Cox proportional hazards modeling to investigate estimated time to surgeon evaluation by language, race and ethnicity, and insurance status.

      Results

      Of 1,333 patients with a diagnosis of primary hyperparathyroidism, 74% were female, 67% were White, 44% were privately insured, and 88% preferred English. Fewer than one third (n = 377; 28%) were evaluated by a surgeon. After adjusting for demographic and clinical factors, Asian (hazard ratio = 0.38; 95% confidence interval, 0.18–0.84; P = .016) and Black or African American patients (hazard ratio = 0.59; 95% confidence interval, 0.39–0.90; P = .014) had a lower rate of surgeon evaluation compared to White patients. Although patients with Medicaid had a lower rate of surgeon evaluation compared to privately insured patients (hazard ratio = 0.52; 95% confidence interval, 0.35–0.77; P = .001), there was no difference in rate for those with Medicare or who were uninsured. Patients with non-English and non-Spanish language had a lower rate of evaluation compared to those who preferred English (hazard ratio = 0.47; 95% confidence interval, 0.23–0.98; P = .043).

      Conclusion

      Rates of surgeon evaluation vary by race and ethnicity, insurance status, and preferred language. Evaluation of factors contributing to these disparities is needed to improve access to surgeon referral.
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