, Volume 54, Issue 12, pp 2694-2698,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 23 Dec 2008

Sociodemographic Trends in National Ambulatory Care Visits for Hepatitis C Virus Infection

Abstract

Poor and non-white patients are disproportionately infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The objective of this research is to determine sociodemographic patterns of HCV-related ambulatory care visits over time. Data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey-Outpatient (NHAMCS-OPD) for the years 1997–2005 were analyzed in 3-year intervals. Demographic and other variables were compared for each period, and multivariable logistic regression was performed to examine whether the likelihood of a visit being HCV-related (versus non-HCV) was independently associated with (1) race and/or (2) Medicaid status over time. The total number of HCV-related ambulatory visits more than doubled from 3,583,585 during the years 1997–1999 to 8,027,166 during 2003–2005. During this time, the proportion of non-whites and Medicaid recipients presenting for HCV-related visits approximately doubled (non-whites: 16% vs. 33%, P = 0.04; Medicaid recipients: 10% vs. 25%, P = 0.07). In 2003–2005, HCV-related visits were more than twice as likely to occur among non-white patients vs. white patients (OR = 2.49; 95% CI: 1.60–3.86) and patients on Medicaid vs. non-Medicaid (3.49; 1.79–6.80). Our results show that HCV-associated ambulatory care visits are increasing, with a greater proportion of visits occurring among non-white patients and Medicaid recipients.