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Diagnosis, treatment of depression among elderly depend on racial, cultural factors
Date:12/20/2011

in the clinical presentation of depression may further explain the lower rates of depression detection among African-American patients.

Financial factors may also play a role in the detection rates, according to Akincigil. Among Medicare beneficiaries, African Americans are substantially less likely than non-Hispanic whites to have private supplemental insurance that covers charges larger than standard Medicare-approved amounts. "Differences in provider reimbursement may favor increased clinical detection of depression in white patient groups if higher payment rates result in longer visits," she said.

Akincigil and co-authors Karen A. Zurlo and Stephen Crystal, both from Rutgers' School of Social Work; Mark Olfson, Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University; and Michele Siegel and James T. Walkup from Rutgers' Center for Health Services Research on Pharmacotherapy, Chronic Disease Management and Outcomes, conclude that "efforts are needed to reduce the burden of undetected and untreated depression and to identify the barriers that generate disparities in detection and treatment."

"Promising approaches include providing universal depression screening and ensuring access to care in low-income and minority neighborhoods," they write. "An increase in the reimbursement of case management services for the treatment of depression also may be effective."


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Contact: Steve Manas
smanas@ur.rutgers.edu
732-932-7084 x612
Rutgers University
Source:Eurekalert

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