Association of Geography and Access to Healthcare Providers with Long Term Prescription Opioid Use in Medicare Patients with Severe Osteoarthritis: A Cohort Study

Researchers compared long-term opioid use in patients with severe osteoarthritis (OA) enrolled in Medicare based on where they live and their healthcare access. A total of 358,121 patients were included, spanning over 4,000 primary care service areas (PCSAs). There were significant variations in opioid use across states, from less than 9% in Minnesota to more than 26% in Alabama. However, researchers observed only a modest correlation between access to primary care physicians and long-term opioid use rates between PCSAs that had the highest and lowest concentration. There was no association between rheumatologist access and long-term opioid use.

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