Structural Barriers Contribute to Racial Disparities in the Treatment of Hidradenitis Suppurativa

By Rob Dillard - Last Updated: July 18, 2023

A multitude of factors, including structural barriers like a lack of funding for health care management, lead to disparities in the treatment of hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) in Black patients, according to a study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology.

To assess whether structural barriers may reduce equitable care for Black patients with HS, investigators obtained patient data for the years 2012 to 2018 from the publicly available Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. They assessed disparities in demographics, practices, and care for HS between White and Black patients using Chi-squared statistics and the Fisher’s Exact Test.

Results of the Chi-square tests showed a link between payment method and race (P=.0089), indicating that Black patients were more likely to pay for HS treatment with Medicare or Medicaid versus their White counterparts. “Barriers to medical management and poor reimbursement/compensation for necessary procedural interventions may present a barrier to finding providers and access to treatment among Black patients who are disproportionately affected by HS,” the researchers wrote. “There are multiple factors, including structural barriers, such as funding for medical and surgical management and assistance in prevention, which lead to a disparity in severity of HS, treatment, and social impact on Black Americans. Poorly controlled HS and the chronic, debilitating nature of this disease may result in increased social services and a reduction in work productivity, and a negative effect on socioeconomic status,” they concluded.

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