Race differences in diagnosis and surgery for occupational low back injuries

John T. Chibnall, Raymond C. Tait, Elena Andresen, Nortin M. Hadler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Study Design. Population-based telephone survey in Missouri. Objective. To examine the unique contribution of race to diagnosis and surgery rates in workers' compensation claimants. Summary of Background Data. Race differences in diagnostic specificity and rates of surgery may mediate documented differences in workers' compensation case management outcomes (treatment expenditures, disability ratings, and settlement awards) between African Americans and whites with low back injuries. Participants and Methods. African American (n = 580) and white (n = 892) workers' compensation claimants with single-incident low back injuries were interviewed regarding diagnoses and treatments received for their injury. Participants were, on average, 21 months after settlement. Analyses examined the association of race (controlling for clinical findings, legal representation, age, gender, and socioeconomic status) with diagnosis (herniated disc vs. regional backache) and surgery. Risk ratios for race were calculated. Results. Whites were 40% more likely than African Americans to receive a herniated disc diagnosis. Of claimants with the latter diagnosis, whites were 110% more likely than African Americans to undergo surgery. Conclusions. Race differences in diagnosis and surgery may help to explain why African Americans, relative to whites, receive lower workers' compensation medical expenditures, disability ratings, and settlement awards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1272-1275
Number of pages4
JournalSpine
Volume31
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2006
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Back Injuries
Workers' Compensation
African Americans
Intervertebral Disc Displacement
Health Expenditures
Case Management
Back Pain
Telephone
Social Class
Odds Ratio
Wounds and Injuries
Population

Keywords

  • Back injuries
  • Diagnosis
  • Disability evaluation
  • Health care disparities
  • Race
  • Socioeconomic factors
  • Surgery
  • Workers' compensation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Cite this

Race differences in diagnosis and surgery for occupational low back injuries. / Chibnall, John T.; Tait, Raymond C.; Andresen, Elena; Hadler, Nortin M.

In: Spine, Vol. 31, No. 11, 05.2006, p. 1272-1275.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Chibnall, John T. ; Tait, Raymond C. ; Andresen, Elena ; Hadler, Nortin M. / Race differences in diagnosis and surgery for occupational low back injuries. In: Spine. 2006 ; Vol. 31, No. 11. pp. 1272-1275.
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