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INTRODUCTION: The purpose of this study was to assess racial disparities in total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA) in the US and to determine whether these disparities were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

METHODS: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) 100% sample was used to examine primary TSA volume from April-December from 2019-2020. Utilization was assessed for White/Black/Hispanic/Asian populations to determine if COVID-19 affected these groups differently. A regression model adjusted for age/sex/CMS-Hierarchical Condition Categories (HCC) score, dual enrollment (proxy for socioeconomic status), time fixed effects, and Core-based Statistical Area (CBSA) fixed effects was used to study difference across groups.

RESULTS: In 2019, TSA volume/1000 beneficiaries was 1.51 for White and 0.57 for non-White, a 2.6-fold difference. In 2020, the rate of TSA in White patients (1.30/1000) was 2.9 times higher than non-White (0.45/1000) during the COVID-19 pandemic (P<0.01). There was an overall 14% decrease in TSA volume/1000 Medicare beneficiaries in 2020; non-White patients had a larger percentage decrease in TSA volume than White (21% vs. 14%, estimated difference;8.7%,p = 0.02). Black patients experienced the most pronounced disparity with estimated difference of 10.1%,p = 0.05, compared with White patients. Similar disparities were observed when categorizing procedures into anatomic and reverse TSA, but not proximal humerus fracture.

CONCLUSIONS: During the COVID-19 pandemic, overall TSA utilization decreased by 14% with White patients experiencing a decrease of 14%, and non-White patients experiencing a decrease of 21%. This trend was observed for elective TSA while disparities were less apparent for proximal humerus fracture.

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ePub ahead of print



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