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Hospitals In The US Struggle To Minimize Health Disparities. In Four Among Five Hospitals, Minorities Don’t Get Their Fair Share

Almost all hospitals in the US present diversity in its true sense while serving the general public; both culturally and ethnically. But when it comes to treating patients, minorities here fail to get their fair share. The revelation comes from an analysis of the federal data available in the field. Experts published their findings on Tuesday. The analysis compared more than 2000 hospitals based on their ethnic diversity from the communities that surround them.

The researchers took the federal data available in the period between 2015 and 2019. Analysts discovered that minorities failed to get their fair share of representation in four of five hospitals in the country. This is the first time that a reputed channel has included an analysis of health equity in ranking hospitals.

Hospitals In The US Struggle To Minimize Health Disparities. In Four Among Five Hospitals, Minorities Don’t Get Their Fair Share

Health has a strong connection with social background, economic and numerous other factors, researchers say. And the disparities are clearly visible. The health of the country at present is based on what ought not to be. And this is what health inequity is, the expert further explains. For six years consecutively, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester is the best US hospital in this regard. The Cleveland Clinic and UCLA Medical Center come next in line. The analysts, however, found that the representation of minorities here too was lower than what it needs to be.

The US is fortunate; it has the best healthcare technology available in the world. But it becomes a blessing when it is accessible for all communities in a nation, say health officials. It is great to have the latest technology. But, this has to be fairly distributed all through the country.

Hospitals In The US Struggle To Minimize Health Disparities. In Four Among Five Hospitals, Minorities Don’t Get Their Fair Share

The report was based on the data from the Medicare program available for more than 60000000 patients in the US. It lets the beneficiaries access healthcare both from public and private hospitals. The report avoided non-residents to minimize misjudgment of hospitals that attract patients from abroad. Including them is sure to widen the disparity, they observed.

The analysis found that only 29% of hospitals offered their services to black patients in proportion to or higher than the number of black residents in their surrounding communities. The numbers were lower when it comes to Asian-Pacific or Hispanic patients; 29 and 5%. It also found that Medicare-insured black patients had to be hospitalized more when compared to their white counterparts. This, according to them, happened because of the disparity in preventive healthcare services available to them.

It is true that almost all hospitals served a small share of the minorities when compared to the number of them in their surrounding communities. But a few among them stood out as exceptions. For instance, 82% of the Medicare beneficiaries who opted for elective procedures in Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta were black. 17% of the Medicare beneficiaries in Dallas are black. 4% belongs to the Hispanic community.  40% of the patients who were treated in Parkland Health and Hospital System were black. 

The inequity discussed above may be due to lack of access to excellent-quality healthcare. Communication barriers and lack of trust too can aggravate the issue. Racial discrimination may not be the only issue here. But there are studies that reveal that when minorities visit hospitals, they generally receive care from low-quality hospitals. This adversely affects their health and well-being in general. The report also plans to include health outcomes and how hospitals invest in the health of the communities that surround them in their next report. This way, they will be able to get a broader perspective of the entire scenario, they say.

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