Research: Cantor Co-Authors study on Elective Epilepsy Monitoring

Abstract

Elective admission to the epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) is an essential service provided by epilepsy centers, particularly for those with drug-resistant epilepsy. Given previously characterized racial and socioeconomic healthcare disparities in the management of epilepsy, we sought to understand access and utilization of this service in New Jersey (NJ). We examined epilepsy hospitalizations in NJ between 2014 and 2016 using state inpatient and emergency department (ED) databases. We stratified admissions by race/ethnicity and primary payer and used these to estimate and compare (1) admission rates per capita in NJ, as well as (2) admission rates per number of ED visits for each group. Patients without insurance underwent elective EMU admission at the lowest rates across all racial/ethnic groups and payer types studied. Black patients with Medicaid and private insurance were admitted at disproportionately low rates relative to their number of ED visits. Hispanic/Latino and Asian/Pacific Islanders with private insurance, Hispanic/Latinos with Medicaid, and Asian/Pacific Islanders with Medicare were also admitted at low rates per capita within each respective payer category. Future studies should focus on addressing causal factors driving healthcare disparities in epilepsy, particularly for patients without adequate health insurance coverage and those who have been historically underserved by the healthcare system.

Joel Cantor is Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Director, Center for State Health Policy

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