AES Press Releases
STUDYING ACCESS TO SPECIALIZED CARE ONE COMMUNITY AT A TIME
Access to care for hundreds of thousands of epilepsy patients in their communities compared
SAN DIEGO, December 1, 2012— One of the largest studies examining disparities of care ever to be conducted in a developed country, involving almost 200,000 adults with epilepsy will be presented for the first time at the American Epilepsy Society’s 66th Annual Meeting in San Diego California. While there have been studies that have examined the impact of individual factors such as age, income level, and race, this retrospective study is the first to investigate the impact of epilepsy on a whole community, taking in to account the socioeconomic status of a neighborhood and its health system resources (Abstract #2.331).
The researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center, and the Center for Health Care Research and Policy, MetroHealth Medical Center investigated access to video-EEG monitoring and epilepsy surgery in communities in California, and were able to take individual characteristics within these communities into consideration. They found that the uninsured, those on Medicaid, older people, Blacks, Hispanics and those with comorbidities received such treatments in fewer numbers. This study suggested that better care is needed for low-income epilepsy patients.
Another study by the same group of investigators from UH Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine with funding from the Epilepsy Foundation investigated the prevalence and incidence of epilepsy among the Medicaid population using Ohio Medicaid claims data from 1992-2006. The study showed that the Medicaid population has much higher prevalence and incidence of epilepsy compared to the general U.S. population (Abstract #1.336).
Disparate attitudes among behavioral health professionals towards children with epilepsy come to light in a third study that surveyed 146 psychologists, counselors, clinical social workers, physicians and nurses (Abstract #1.310). Responding to an online questionnaire, they were asked about their comfort level in managing psychopathology in children with epilepsy. Those who provide services in an institution such as a school or hospital, or those who have witnessed a seizure first hand indicated significantly greater levels of knowledge and comfort in managing these patients than those who provided treatment in the community. Also, 84% of those surveyed said they would welcome training in this area. The study concludes that there is an overwhelming need to establish relationships with behavioral health professionals so that they can better address the psychological, behavioral and emotional needs of children with epilepsy.
Editors Note: Authors of the above studies will be available at a press briefing at 2:30pm, Saturday, December 1st, in the onsite press room, Room 1A, upper level of the San Diego Convention Center. Briefing call-in number: Dial in on 1-866-740-1260; PIN 5867509#
About the American Epilepsy Society (AES): The American Epilepsy Society, based in West Hartford, Conn., seeks to advance and improve the treatment of epilepsy through the promotion of research and education for healthcare professionals. Society membership includes epileptologists and other medical professionals, allied healthcare professionals, and scientists concerned with the care of people who have seizure disorders.
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