Barriers to and Disparities in Access to Health Care Among Adults Aged ≥18 Years with Epilepsy — United States, 2015 and 2017
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Barriers to and Disparities in Access to Health Care Among Adults Aged ≥18 Years with Epilepsy — United States, 2015 and 2017

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    • Alternative Title:
      MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
    • Description:
      Approximately 3 million U.S. adults have active epilepsy (i.e., self-reported doctor-diagnosed History of epilepsy and currently taking epilepsy medication or have had at least one seizure in the past year, or both) (1). One of the most common brain disorders, epilepsy poses a number of challenges for people living with this condition because its treatment can be complex, daily management might be inadequate to achieve seizure control, it limits social participation, and epilepsy is associated with early Mortality.| Previous studies indicate that persons with epilepsy are more likely to experience barriers or delays in receipt of certain types of care, including epilepsy specialty care, and that these delays are often associated with individual factors (e.g., seizure type) or social determinants of health (e.g., household income or provider availability) (2-4). To obtain updated estimates of access to health care among U.S. adults aged ≥18 years by epilepsy status, CDC analyzed pooled data from the 2015 and 2017 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), the most recent years with available epilepsy data. Age-adjusted analyses comparing adults with active epilepsy or inactive epilepsy (i.e., self-reported doctor-diagnosed epilepsy but not currently taking medication for epilepsy and have had no seizure in the past year) with adults without epilepsy indicated that adults with active or inactive epilepsy were more likely to have Medicaid or other public insurance coverage and to report an inability to afford prescription medicine, specialty care, or vision or dental care. Adults with active or inactive epilepsy were more likely to take less medication than prescribed to save money, to be in families having problems paying medical bills, and to report delaying care because of insufficient transportation. Enhancing linkages between clinical and community programs and services by public health practitioners and epilepsy health and social service providers can address gaps in access to health care.
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