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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Volume 43 Number 7, November/December 2006
Pages 831 — 844


Abstract - Demographic characteristics of veterans who received wheelchairs
and scooters from Veterans Health Administration

Sandra L. Hubbard, PhD, OTR/L, ATP;1-2 Shirley G . Fitzgerald, PhD;3-4* Dean M. Reker, PhD, RN;5-6
Michael L. Boninger, MD;4,7 Rory A. Cooper, PhD;3-4 Lewis E. Kazis, ScD8-9

1Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Rehabilitation Outcomes Research Center of Excellence, North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System, Gainesville, FL; 2Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; 3Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; 4Human Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA; 5Kansas City VA Medical Center, Kansas City, MO; 6Department of Health Policy and Management, The University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS; 7Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; 8Department of Health Policy and Management, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA; 9VA Center for Health Quality, Outcomes, and Economic Research, Bedford, MA
Abstract — Little is known about the reasoning process clinicians use when prescribing wheeled mobility equipment (WME) or about the outcomes of this process, i.e., how many devices are prescribed, to whom, how often, and at what cost. This study characterized veterans who received WME from the Veterans Health Administration. We analyzed variance in wheelchair provision based on sex, race/ethnicity, diagnosis, and age. Three years of data from the National Prosthetics Patient Database and the National Patient Care Database were merged, yielding more than 77,000 observations per fiscal year. Logistic regression analysis revealed associations between WME provision and age, sex, and race/ethnicity, when analysis was controlled for diagnosis and number of comorbidities. Hispanics (odds ratio [OR] = 1.864), African Americans (OR = 1.360), and American Indians/Asians (OR = 1.585) were more likely than Caucasians to receive standard wheelchairs. Hispanics (OR = 0.4), African Americans (OR = 0.7), and American Indians/Asians (OR = 0.4) were less likely than Caucasians to receive scooters.
Key words: age, assistive technology, equity, ethnicity, power wheelchair, race, rehabilitation, sex, standard manual wheelchair, wheeled mobility equipment.

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