Studies Look at Medicaid Proof-of-Citizenship Requirements, Depression Treatment Among Black Coronary Heart Disease Patients
"Ethnic Differences in the Treatment of Depression in Patients With Ischemic Heart Disease," American Heart Journal: The study examines the differences in depressive symptoms and antidepressant treatment among blacks and whites undergoing a coronary angiography to diagnose heart disease. Blacks have an increased risk of mortality from coronary heart disease and traditional risk factors do not fully account for the disparity. For the study, Duke University Medical Center researchers assessed the depressive symptoms of 727 whites and 137 blacks undergoing the diagnostic procedure. Researchers also looked at data describing cardiovascular risk factors and the type of medications being used by the patients, including antidepressants. There was no significant difference in the severity of depressive symptoms between blacks and whites, but researchers found that the rate for antidepressant use among whites was 21%, compared with 11.7% for blacks. The study concludes that the ethnic differences in the management of depression "suggests that more careful assessment of depression, especially in African-Americans, is necessary to optimize care of patients with" coronary heart disease (Waldman et al., American Heart Journal, October 2008). "Assessing the Effects of Medicaid Documentation Requirements on Health Centers and Their Patients: Results of a 'Second Wave' Survey," George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services' Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative: The study is the second in a two-part study that examines the effects of Medicaid citizenship documentation requirements. Researchers find that 75% of community health centers continue to experience significant problems with the requirements for one or more eligible patient groups because of the requirements and nearly one-half of health centers continue to report Medicaid application and enrollment delays and disruptions. The report also found that changes implemented to address these issues have done little to alleviate the problems (George Washington University Medical Center release, 10/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.