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Finding Good Migraine Care a Headache for the Uninsured
Date:4/12/2010

They are twice as likely to resort to ERs for help rather than a doctor's office, study finds

MONDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- People who are uninsured or who are on Medicaid are much less likely to receive adequate care for their migraines than people who have private coverage.

In fact, more than 5.5 million Americans may be at risk of receiving inadequate care for their migraines because of their insurance status, a new study suggests.

"Left untreated or undertreated, as a result of being uninsured, will cause millions of Americans with migraine to suffer needlessly and place them at greater risk for developing more frequent migraine headaches," said Dr. Brian M. Grosberg, director of the Inpatient Headache Program at Montefiore Medical Center and assistant professor of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. He was not involved in the study.

The lag in care may stem from the fact that the uninsured tend to seek care at hospital emergency rooms rather than a doctors' office, according to findings published in the April 13 issue of Neurology.

"This study is really about the need to improve the healthcare system so everybody has access to a physician in an office so they don't have to go to an emergency department -- where we know they're not going to get the best treatment," added the study's senior author, Dr. Rachel Nardin, chair of neurology at Cambridge Health Alliance and assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

"It's a sad situation because we actually have pretty good treatments that can help a lot of people, but what we don't have is a functioning healthcare system that allows us to get treatment to people who need it," continued Nardin, who is also chair of the Massachusetts chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program.

According to background information in the article, some 18 percent of women an
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