Racial/ethnic differences in those accompanying Medicare patients to the doctor: Insights from the 2013 Medicare Current Beneficiary's Survey
Sentell T, Shen C, Landsittel D, Mays MH, Southerland J, Henriques-Forsythe M, Taira DA. Racial/ethnic differences in those accompanying Medicare patients to the doctor: Insights from the 2013 Medicare Current Beneficiary's Survey. J Immigr Minor Health. 2017 Apr 12. doi: 10.1007/s10903-017-0582-8. [Epub ahead of print.] PMID: 28405871.
Surprisingly little current, population-level detail exists regarding companion accompaniment for health care among Medicare beneficiaries, particularly by race/ethnicity. For respondents in the 2013 Medicare Current Beneficiary's Survey Access to Care public use data (N = 12,253), multivariable models predicted accompaniment to the doctor by race/ethnicity, adjusting for confounders. Chi square analyses compared, by race/ethnicity, who was accompanying and why. Overall, 37.5% of beneficiaries had accompaniment. In multivariable analyses, non-Hispanic blacks (OR 1.18; 95% CI 1.03-1.36) and Hispanics (OR 1.47; 95% CI 1.25-1.74) were significantly more likely than non-Hispanic whites to have accompaniment. Over 35% of all three groups had someone to "take notes," "ask questions," and/or "explain things," which did not vary by race/ethnicity; significant differences were seen for "explain instructions," "translate," and "moral support." Hispanics had the highest percentages for all three. Many Medicare beneficiaries have accompaniment to doctors' appointments, particularly in minority racial/ethnic groups, which should be considered in policy and practice.